Spirit settles down
The Spirit rover on Mars was designed to last a few months, but has amazed its operators by working continuously for six years. Sadly, it has been trapped in soft sand inside a shallow crater for almost a year, and the engineers have been trying to work it free for the last ten months. Today NASA announced that the approaching Martian winter has forced them to give up – they have to devote all the remaining time to trying to position Spirit so that it’s solar panels are pointing more directly at the Sun, so that it will have enough energy to keep its fragile electronics warm. If they are successful, then Spirit can settle down into a new role as a stationary science platform, and start doing some big long-term projects. Good luck, Spirit!