Despite NASA’s attempts at anthropomorphism, the Mars rovers do not talk, so Spirit was unable to utter any last words. But we did get to share its final view. Behold, our departed rover’s last Martian vista, the Columbia Hills.
Spirit Mars rover, Courtesy NASA
The Mars rover Spirit landed on the Red Planet on January 3, 2004, for a mission that was scheduled to last 90 Martian days, or sols (one sol is about 1.03 Earth days). More than two years later, it looks like the hugely successful mission might finally be coming to an end. The motor that drives Spirits right-front wheel has stopped working, limiting the rovers mobility. And if Spirit cant reach the other side of a nearby hill soon, it wont be able to correctly orient its solar panels for the coming Martian winter. If it doesnt get enough power over the winter, it wont be able to run the heaters that keep its electronics from freezing. But even if it fails, its twin rover Opportunity is still rolling on all six wheels. —Michael Moyer
The Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity won a Best of Whats New Grand Award in 2004.