Mars Update

More news has come in from Mars today. First of all, NASA scietists have been both relieved and dishearted by the receipt of data from the Spirit rover on the surface of Mars. The data did contain some information as well as more random noise, indicating that the rover is alive, but undergoing some kind of major software or hardware fault. Without more data as to the status of the rover it could take weeks to get Spirit back to operational status, meaning that the planned drive to the Martian hills several kilometers from the landing site is most certainly an impossible goal.

However, the second lander Opportunity will land on the other side of Mars tomorrow and may be able to perform those tasks that Spirit could not. There is also hope that Spirit can be fixed and resume normal operations before the Martian dust covers its solar cells and renders it inoperable.

In other Mars news, the European Space Agency Mars Express orbiter has detected signs of water on the Martian surface as well as taken some fascinating high-resolution images of the Martian surface. (Hat tip to Janek for the link.)

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