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Thursday, July 8, 2004

MER's to spend more time on Mars?

An artist's rendition of an MER.
An artist's rendition of an MER.
Credit: NASA/JPL
The MER science team has made a request to NASA to extend the life of the MER rovers. Their initial 90-day mission has already lasted to 250. If the extension is approved, the rovers will be put into a "deep sleep" to stand out the winter. Next Spring the Rovers will be ready to continue major science research. "We're not going to do a lot but stay alive and occasionally do some remote-sensing of the sky and surface. We'll become a long-term weather station," said Dr Arvidson. This "deep sleep" was already tested on Opportunity, when its heater was malfunctioning. Dr Ray Arvidson, deputy principal investigator for the rover science payload, said that July would be the last month of having a JPL base. After that, teleconferencing and distributed computing will be used to run the mission. With luck, the Rovers celebrate their first anniversary of their landing on Mars.

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- posted by Jim @ 14:38 EST