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Mars rover Spirit?s wheel stops functioning

One of the six wheels on the Mars rover Spirit has stopped working and the solar-powered robot must propel itself up a slope to catch enough sunshine to keep operating, NASA said on Sunday.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2006 11:51 IST
AP
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One of the six wheels on the Mars rover Spirit has stopped working and the solar-powered robot must propel itself up a slope to catch enough sunshine to keep operating, NASA said on Sunday.

The right front wheel previously had an episode of balkiness but this week the motor that turns the wheel stopped working, the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement. “It is not drawing any current at all,” said Jacob Matijevic, rover engineering team chief.

Engineers were considering whether the electrical motor’s brushes contacts that deliver power to the rotating part of the motor have lost contact. Spirit is trying to reach a position where it can get as much sunlight as possible during winter. Spirit’s new wheel problem occurred this week during the rover’s 779th Martian day.

First Published: Mar 21, 2006 11:51 IST