Mars Spirit Rover - How A Robot Defies The Odds

The phrase, "Spirit Rover Lives," is quickly becoming the cheer of all Mars exploration enthusiasts across the world, as the Mars rover defies all expectations and continues to live on over twenty times longer than planners ever expected it to.

The Spirit Rover Lives On

The NASA land rover known as the Mars "Spirit" rover, landed on Mars on January 4, 2004. It was an exciting day for the team at NASA's Mars Exploration Rover, as the first of the two rovers (the other was the "Opportunity" rover) to touch down on Martian soil. This amazing piece of machinery spent four years exploring the surface of this distant planet, surviving dust storms and an extremely harsh climate and atmosphere.

The amazing robot spent the years since then exploring the geography, taking samples, and of course capturing images of the landscape. Part of its daily schedule included a "nap" that allowed time for NASA to transmit data from the rover's memory banks and so that the rover could conserve its power. The rover recharges it's power through solar panels. Unfortunately, dust storms have covered many of the panels with a layer of dust thick enough to reduce their efficiency, and the rover has been suffering from reduced power levels since the middle of 2007.