Following our announcement of the sixth anniversary of NASA's Spirit and Opportunity Mars robots in the last episode, NASA has now had to conceded defeat in its battle to free the Spirit rover from its Martian sand trap.
As NASA's Julie Townsend told us in a recent Robots episode, Spirit's predicament was difficult already a few months ago. Now Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars exploration programme, said: "Spirit has encountered a golfer's worst nightmare - the sand trap that no matter how many strokes you take, you can't get out of it". However, Spirit will not be abandoned, but used as a stationary scientific platform.
The mission team is now concentrating on trying to get the rover tilted in a manner that will maximize the amount of sunlight falling on its solar panels during the approaching winter months to shorten the period in which Spirit will have to go into hibernation.
More infos directly on the Nasa site at http://marsrover.nasa.gov