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NASA to make final attempt to contact Mars rover

RIA Novosti

09:03 25/05/2011 MOSCOW, May 25 (RIA Novosti) - NASA on Wednesday will make its last attempt to make contact with the Mars rover Spirit, which has been silent since March 2010, the U.S. Space Agency said in a press release.

Spirit lost two of its six wheels in the spring of 2009 and became stuck in a sand trap on Mars and has not been heard from since March 22. After becoming stuck, the rover was unable to move to a better place to recharge its solar panels for power.

Scientists have been attempting to contact Spirit over the last 10 months but to no avail and believe any contact with it is highly doubtful as the Mars winter sets in.

NASA has turned its attention to a new rover, Curiosity, which will be launched in November and will write Spirit off if no contact is made before then.

The Mars rovers Opportunity and Spirit landed on Mars in January 2004 and were scheduled to operate only 90 days. In May 2010, the rovers broke the record for the longest Mars mission previously set by Viking 1 at six years and 116 days.

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