NASA?s stuck Mars rover Spirit took a tiny step Thursday,its first progress in months, during the latest attempt to extricate the robotfrom deep Martian sand.
On Thursday, Spirit inched forward slightly after its secondattempt to drive out of the patch of sandy soil called Troy, in which it hasbeen mired since April.
The rover successfully completed the first of two commandsto spin its wheels for a period equivalent to driving 8.2 feet (2.5 meters). Theattempt moved Spirit?s center forward by about half an inch (1.2 cm), left byabout 0.3 inches (7 mm), and about ?0.2 inches (4 mm) down.
Some small forward motion was observed with the non-operableright front wheel, and the left front wheel showed signs of climbing, despitethe center of the rover moving downward. These motions are too small to establishany trends at this time, the NASA report said.
The plans for the drive limited Spirit's movement to 0.4inches (1 cm) in any direction, so the rover didn't attempt the second wheelspin because it calculated that it had exceeded that limit.
The first attempt to free Spirit, which took place onTuesday, hita snag when the rover sensed it was tilting too much and stopped after lessthan one second of wheel spin.
The rover team is continuing to analyze the data and imagesfrom the second drive, NASA said.
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