NASA-JPL's dual Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have far exceeded even the most optimistic estimates of their useful lifetime. They have reached a Martian age of 1395 Sols and 1375 Sols, respectively (one Sol is equal to one Martian day).
Spirit's recent endeavors have placed it in a low, sandy area known by the JPL as Tartarus. It is so named for its resemblance to a dungeon of Greek mythology. Spirit's wheels had become entrapped in sand during its 14 Sol stay in the area. After struggling to break free of its sandy imprisonment, Spirit is now in a race to save its own life. Spirit must now return to "Home Plate" before Martian winter begins, or risk running out of solar and thermal power. This, of course, would mean the demise of the Spirit rover. If it can make it back to Home Plate in time, it may have the power to survive another Martian winter. The following picture illustrates Spirit's current position.
Will Spirit make it? Only time can tell. Watch for updates.
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