Opportunity knocks Record en Mars, Spirit duerme

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Culture & Science - Science
Thursday, 27 May 2010 01:00

News from another world, the rovers of NASA continue operating beyond planned time. While Opportunity has just become the longest mission developed on Mars, Spirit Energy Board to address its problems in winter.

image Footprint of the Opportunity rover photographed by herself on May 8, 2010

The rover Opportunity has just beat the world record (twice world) that kept the Viking 1 probe amount of time spent on the Red Planet: 6 years, 116 days and counting. Not bad, considering they were expected to Opportunity and its twin Spirit , lasted only 90 days.

Spirit, meanwhile, is in a state of hibernation, because the solar panel that allows the operation of the robot , was running out of energy. This is not surprising, since the rovers were designed to hibernate during the harsh Martian winter, and have done so several times.

While asleep, the rovers off most of its functions, including communications with Earth, to keep warm and batteries charged when the sun's rays are too weak. As winter approaches, mission managers put the rovers in the best position to capture all the solar energy possible. Thus, the robots are kept fed during sleep, until spring when they awaken and return to work.

But in the case of Spirit, manages the team that tried for months to get her out of a crater in the sand that buried and not allowed to place it in the best possible way to deal with the new winter. Because of this, there is a chance that Spirit has been unable to eat enough during their winter slumber, and not wake up in the coming days.

Now that the winter solstice on Mars happened, the team hopes Spirit regenerate their energies and awaken. If it does, the record length of a Mars mission will go to, a few weeks before amarizó Opportunity.

In any case, Opportunity finally defeated the Viking 1 . The Viking 1 reached the Martian surface in July 1976 and continued transmitting information from there until November 1983. Unlike the rovers, the Viking 1 is a probe that did not move, but provided valuable information on the Martian soil and captured the first photographs of the surface of Mars.

Orbiting Mars, the spacecraft Mars Odyssey could beat the record year-end of the Mars Global Surveyor , the spacecraft with greater amount of time flying over the Red Planet (9 years).

More than six years of work, Opportunity shows no signs of aging. Although the directors are now resting in the rover during repeated pauses, and goes Opportunità smoothly to its new target, Endeavour Crater.

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