Nasa's Spirit rover signs off on Mars

Nasa's Spirit rover signs off on Mars

Summary: The space agency has finally given up hope on its Spirit rover, which landed on the red planet in 2004 and went on to make numerous significant scientific discoveries

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TOPICS: After Hours
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  • Nasa engineers work on Spirit replica

    A few months after it landed, Spirit's left front tyre began showing a problem by using much more energy than the others.

    Here, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineers Eric Aguilar (left) and Joe Melko work in a sandbox to find a way around the problem. The wheel eventually died in 2006 but Nasa scientists were able to keep the rover rolling on five wheels by driving it backwards and devising easier ways to turn.

    Photo credit: Nasa


    See more space photos on ZDNet UK.

  • Patch of silica on Mars

    On a positive note, the dead wheel dug up Martian soil that in turn led to Spirit's most impressive discovery — a patch of nearly pure silica. This was most likely caused by hot springs or steam vents.

    Photo credit: Nasa


    See more space photos on ZDNet UK.

  • Rocks on Mars

    Five years after this image was taken by Spirit in 2005, Nasa scientists concluded that this area showed a past that was wet and non-acidic and could potentially sustain life as we know it.

    The rocks were identified as magnesium iron carbonate with a concentration of carbonate 10 times that ever seen on Mars. According to the space agency, carbonates originate in wet, near-neutral conditions, but dissolve in acid.

    Photo credit: Nasa


    See more space photos on ZDNet UK.

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Topic: After Hours

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