“The Martian rover Spirit will rove no more. Officials at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced Tuesday that the Spirit, mired in a sand pit for the last 10 months, would remain there forever. But the officials said they were hopeful that the Spirit would continue life as a stationary science station — if it survives the upcoming Martian winter.
‘This is not a day of mourning for Spirit,’ Douglas McCuistion, director of the Mars exploration program at NASA headquarters in Washington, said during a telephone news conference. In March, the Spirit’s six wheels broke through a hard crust into sandy material and became stuck. In November, as it was attempting to drive out, its right rear wheel failed. The right front wheel had stopped turning four years ago. Officials decided that even if the Spirit could extricate itself, with two bad wheels, its best driving days were past. The Spirit, designed to last three months, has survived for more than six years. ‘It’s kind of a poignant moment for us,’ said Steven W. Squyres, the mission’s principal investigator.”