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95

On MER we numbered the builds, but used letters for the launches. So MER-1 was built before MER-2. MER-A would both launch and arrive first, and MER-B would launch and arrive second. When we started, we weren't sure which hardware would launch first. Due to how the design testing split across the two flight units was arranged, it turned out that MER-2 became ...


34

Not a chance. From NASA, here's the locations of everything that's landed on Mars (Well, NASA missions) Curiosity is kind of close to Spirit, but keep this in mind. The equatorial circumference is about 13,000 miles. I'd guess the distance is over 1000 miles, far further than any rover has gone before, or is likely to ever go. There's just much more ...


30

Opportunity is roughly 10,000 km away from Spirit in a straight line. At its top speed of 0.05 m/s (0.18 km/h), it would take approximately 2300 days to reach Spirit -- not that Opportunity can maintain that speed. Between limited electrical power, needing to slow down to navigate, and being unable to drive at night, driving is much slower. Based on the ...


23

Mars Pathfinder, Spirit, and Opportunity all could come to rest on any of four sides of the tetrahedral-shaped lander. Just by chance, Mars Pathfinder and Spirit landed with the base petal down. However Opportunity landed on one of the side petals. The system was, of course, designed for that. The three side petals all have motors to drive them open to be ...


22

Almost all in C on the rover computer. On MSL, some of the C was generated automatically using UML state charts. I don't know the exact team sizes. On the order of 20 on MER and 40 on MSL for the flight software on the rover computer. You would also need to consider the software on the instruments. And the radio. And the motor controllers. Here's a ...


14

According to Wikipedia, it's likely that Spirit has suffered permanent damage from cold as a result of insufficient power to run its heaters; any future rover which had the ability to fix that sort of thing would be so much more sophisticated than our current rovers that there would be no point in doing so. In any case, Spirit operated more than 20 times ...


7

Aluminum and foam according to this page that describes the wheels as manufactured from a single Aluminum block with foam inserts into the spiral suspension system spokes. The black surface of the wheel itself is just an anodized coating. Interestingly the wheels are described as being by design less effective in sand than they could have been by having ...


6

They use neutral-density filters to look at the Sun, which reduce the light by a factor of 100,000. The two Pancam cameras each have one neutral-density filter, with the left one filtering blue and the right one filtering red. per comment: no, no irises.


6

Not specifically during a single storm, but: One interesting case of a partial failure of a system is that of the optical calibration targets on Opportunity, Spirit and Curiosity. They were frequently photographed by on-board cameras (Pancam for Spirit and Opportunity, Mastcam for Curiosity) and the images used to calibrate the colour and brightness of the ...


5

Reference [1] describes the finding of jarosite in the Mawrth Vallis region of Mars. The NASA Mars rovers include IR spectroscopy in their instrumentation, and that was the method used. The finding of potassium jarosite, $\text{KFe}_3\text{(SO}_4\text{)}_2\text{(OH}\text{)}_6$, is rendered graphically in this figure taken from the reference. The jarosite ...


4

Mars Spirit and Opportunity rovers exceeded expectations by working for many years than the planned 90 day mission. Ninety days was not the planned mission. It was instead the bare minimum amount of time the rovers had to work for the mission to be deemed a "success". Mechanical and electrical equipment tends to have a high failure rate early on, ...


4

Spacecraft design is based on conservative, pessimistic estimates, "stuff that's proven to work". When those estimates are (usually) exceeded, the next generation "faster horse" can be designed with the updated proven estimates as guidelines. This is the very careful way of doing things. As such, this starts out with the first rover on ...


4

What you're looking for is the images from the "Navigation Camera". As explained here, the mast-mounted stereo imagers collectively referred to as the "Navigation Camera" were used for navigation. You can browse the collection of images from the Navigation Camera here: http://mars.nasa.gov/mer/gallery/all/spirit.html You didn't mention Opportunity, but it ...


4

It's anybody's guess until we get a chemical analysis - but we can make some informed guesses. One obvious solution is $\mathrm{CO_2 + H_2O \rightarrow H_2CO_3} $ which is a very weak acid, but an acid nevertheless, though I doubt it could contribute much to erosion. The detected perchlorates in soil though are a different matter. There's a range of ...


3

I know this is a dead thread but let me go ahead and point out that 1. Opportunity is out of action, hopefully temporarily 2. We wouldn't want Curiosity OR Opportunity to get in the same situation as Spirit


2

Gusev crater is a former outflow region at the base of the Eridania basin (marked with the black contour in the image below). This region has recieved renewed attention and interest recently, after new findings were published highlighting possible hydrothermal seafloor deposits (black shading inside white contours). I'm just speculating here, but that ...


2

Rescuing a rover isn't the purpose, Spirit is dead for all intents and purposes. Rather, Spirit found it to be a very interesting area, and the desire is to continue that investigation. The key seems to be this, according to NASA: After the rover stopped working in 2010, studies of its older data records showed evidence that past floods that may have ...


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