NASA to Try to Free Stuck Mars Rover Again
This full-circle view from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the terrain surrounding the location called "Troy," where Spirit became embedded in soft soil during the spring of 2009.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA engineers are set to take a second go at extricating the stuck rover Spirit from its sandy trap on Mars.

New commands for the rover to attempt to drive out of the sand it is stuck in will be sent up early in the morning on Thursday, according to a NASA report releasted late Wednesday.

Spirit has been mired in the sand pit, dubbed "Troy," since April.

The first attempt to free Spirit, which took place on Tuesday, hit a snag when the rover sensed it was tilting too much and stopped after less than one second of wheel spin.

The new commands have taken the rover's attitude into account. They will again instruct Spirit to drive ahead in two 8.2-feet (2.5-meter) steps. Those distances are the amount of wheel spin the rover will use; the rover is not expected to move very much.

The results from this second drive attempt will be beamed down via a Mars orbiter relay later on Thursday. But the relay pass has a limited downlink volume, so the rover team will likely be unable to complete their analysis that same day.