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Mars Rover Stuck in a Dune

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the get-out-and-push dept.

Mars 497

Bamfarooni writes "The NASA Mars rover Opportunity has gotten stuck in a dune, buried up to the hubs of the wheels. While they haven't given up yet, it doesn't look good for the little guy who's now 359 days into the extended mission." From the article: "The Mars machinery had been cruising southward across the open parking lot-like landscape of Meridiani Planum, full of larger and larger ripples of soil. Opportunity has been en route to its next stopover, Erebus crater, nestled inside an even larger crater known as Terra Nova."

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Haha... (0, Troll)

doppleganger871 (303020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12383968)

I guess Subaru's engineers contributed to this...

Figures. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12383972)

It was probably attacked by a giant sandworm.

Southern Drivers (0)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384271)

It was probably attacked by a giant sandworm.

More like Opportunity is being piloted by people who never lived in the Great White North and haven't had the pleasure of learning to drive in deep snow without 4WD and chains.

I used to do about 10,000 miles a year of winter driving, often on ice, through slush or snow. Even cruising home a few nights in blizzards. I'm fascinated, living in California, how few people seem able to drive in rain. (We're having a rainy year, BTW)

"ok, it's not going to budge, call MAA"

Humor? (0, Troll)

Kaamoss (872616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12383974)

You have to see the humor in our incredibly exspensive, technical revolutionary machinery being put out of commision by some sand. Help, Rover's fallen and he can't get up.

Re:Humor? (1)

NextGaurd (844638) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384161)

Humor, yeah... I guess so. But I can't help the feeling that we (humanity) are consumed with short term problems and the problems with NASA and lack of interestfrom the general public may keep us from seeing the big picture... and in the long run - it's big picture stuff that makes for great advances.

Re:Humor? (3, Insightful)

Kaamoss (872616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384232)

I couldn't agree more. Even if they can't get Rover up and running again, which I'm sure they will, it's had a good run and garnered a wealth of new information for us. It's essential purpose has been served so regardless of the outcome it's still a good thing.

Damn potholes (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12383979)

Clearly the Martian Highways Dept. need to get a crew up there right away and fix these potholes before someone gets hurt.

impact on Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12383982)

A musty atmosphere of neglect pervaded the subbasement of University Library. The books on the shelves were covered in a fine layering of dust. There were dim lights over the small study cubicles at the end of each aisle between the towering shelves. The lights produced only enough illumination for the top of the desks, leaving the surrounding stacks and central walkway shrouded in a perpetual twilight.

I had finally found the copy of the heavy API guide I needed for my work connecting my SQL database to the graphical front end I had been slaving over all weekend. However, the intricacy of the cover of the neighboring book drew my attention and I brought it along to the desk for better inspection under the light. The cover looked a lot newer than the heavily thumbed volumes beside it. Emblazened
across the front was the title "Linux - Unleash the Power of your PC" together with a picture of a fat cartoonish looking penguin. As I opened the book I felt a strange buzzing in my head that quickly passed. I shrugged it off as my attention was drawn to a CD which dropped out and landed on the desk in front of me. It bore the same title as the book, together with something about 'Knoppix' which was a word I did not recognise.

I had heard of Linux though. The University ran Unix on some of their servers, although I rarely chose to interact with those systems. Perhaps I should broaden my horizons though. I liked to think I knew just about everything there was to know about using Windows, but you could never have too many strings to your bow. Almost without thinking I slipped the CD into my pocket and returned my attention to my work.

A date with my girlfriend Paige followed the work in the library. I was one of the few students on my CS course to actually have a partner since, although computers interested me and would one day be my means of making a living, I was careful not to get drawn into the geek subculture that seemed to pervade the department. Some of the guys with their nerdish glasses and unwashed t-shirts grunted at me strangely when I declined to join in their games of Counterstrike, but I reminded myself that while they were shut up in a grimy computer lab scoffing Cheetos I was getting laid on a regular basis.

That night in my dorm room while I was getting ready for bed, I remembered the CD in my pocket and fired up my laptop to take a look. I still couldn't make out what the strange messages flowing across the screen meant. Perhaps if I sounded them out their meaning would become clear. I tried to phonetically pronounce the words but they disappeared too quickly to be replaced with a blank screen. I gave up, turned off the light and climbed into bed.

The erotic dream started with Paige slowly caressing my back and buttocks. The caressing transitioned into an incredibly gentle massage starting at my neck and shoulders and running down my back. My butt cheeks were being massaged apart and I spread my legs and raised my rear as her hand reached underneath me from behind to stroke my erection. Her hand was very warm and felt wonderful as I started to slowly thrust into her hand as she started jerking me off. A huge long warm and moist tongue started playing over my testicles and anus. It felt fantastic. No one had ever licked me there before. I never knew how sensual it felt.

As her hot hand was expertly running up and down my rigid penis something started probing my anus. It snaked its way into my anal opening and it started slowly expanding. Suddenly I had the urge to move my bowels, but I didn't care, as my attention was totally focused on my imminent orgasm. My penis was released as Paige suddenly grabbed my sides and jammed her hips against my butt.

I woke up to find myself with my rear in the air. Someone was grabbing my sides and hitting my butt. I jolted fully awake as I felt something expanding in my rectum and realized I was being fucked. The cock in my butt was still expanding and was becoming painfully large. I thought I could actually feel it moving around in my guts like some kind of writhing python. I looked over my shoulder and my heart nearly stopped. The fat penguin from the book I'd found this morning was screwing me with obviousl delight.

He probably only stood about 3 feet high, but he was well proportioned. My shock wore off as I realized the cock in my guts was still expanding. I tried to stand up and fell off of the bed onto the floor as the penguin wrapped his flippers around my waist and planted his massive cock tightly into my rump. With the help of my desk I managed to stand up with him firmly clasped to my backside and his legs wrapped around my hips. I tried to pry his flippers from around my waist, but again I failed. He was amazingly strong.

My rectum was on fire and still the bastard's cock continued to grow. I could actually see my abdomen move as his monstrous penis slithered through my intestines causing my stomach to cramp. I slammed my back into the wall to try to crush him. All this did was push him harder into my rectum as his beak stabbed into the muscles of my back. I pitched forward trying to get away from the pointed bill and ran into my desk.

I could see the scren of my still open laptop. It was glowing and the lines of text which again flowed over the screen appeared to be written with florescent ink. Even in my panic I thought I could make out the faint sound of chanting in the distance: "Linux r0x0rs my b0x0r! RTFM n00b!"

I grabbed the laptop and slammed the cover down. A flash of light blinded me and an electrical shock shot up my arms making them tingle. The penguin let go of my waist and hips and fell heavily onto the floor with a thud. Despite lying on the floor and me still standing his cock was still in my guts. I quickly stepped away from him before he could recover. This ended up pulling about another foot of cock out of my rectum. His gargantuan snake of a penis plopped wetly onto the floor like an empty fireman's hose. It was at least four feet long.

I picked up a pitching wedge from my golf bag against the wall and holding the club like a baseball bat walked slowly over to his still prone form. He didn't seem to be recovering very fast. In fact he appeared to be barely breathing. As I approached he slowly turned his head towards me and spoke.

"Using Knoppix CD an invitation makes. Cut off from Open Source vitality withering does commence. Forever be you cursed for this most evil deed."

His pupils started to reflect an eerie reddish glow as he looked up at me. I felt a buzzing vibration in my groin as my cock suddenly shot up to become viciously erect. I blinked and my ears suddenly popped. When I looked back down at the penguin he was not on the floor anymore.

I ran to the light switch on the wall and turned the overhead light on. Using the golf club I lifted the covers on my bed up to look under the bed from a safe distance. Nothing there. I checked under my desk and then carefully opened my closet. He wasn't anywhere in my room. I sat down in my chair as my arms and legs started shaking as the adrenaline rush slowly passed.

My back and rear end were aching. I got up and looked at my back in the mirror over my dresser. There was a puncture wound from the sharp beak but it wasn't bleeding anymore and didn't appear too serious. My anus was another matter. I couldn't see my rectum, so I put my hand to it. I was wide open. I could fit my fist into my asshole. If I squeezed down, I could barely feel my sphincter tighten.

I put on some underwear and then wrapped a towel around myself and went down the hall to the shower. I took a long hot shower and gently cleaned my backside. It seemed that my anus was slowly contracting and returning to normal. Once back in my room I didn't think I would be able to fall asleep, but I was so exhausted I fell into a dreamless sleep.

When my alarm started buzzing I reflexively jumped out of bed, turned it off, wrapped a towel around my waist and with my eyes barely open I marched off to the shower with my shampoo and soap. I didn't wake up enough to remember what had happened the night before until the steamy water hit my face in the shower. It seemed like some sort of horrible nightmare. But I could feel the wound on my back and my anus burned and still felt very loose.

muu (5, Funny)

ondjultomte (878544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12383984)

They need bigger wheels! Knew they shoulda opt for those shiny 18" !

This is what *REALLY* happened (5, Funny)

netglen (253539) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384197)

They're too embarrased to admit it, but they actually found the rover on red cement blocks and some Mars fiend has stolen the wheels.

Naw. They should've used Dubs (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384285)

The Mars Rover would look completely dope with some chrome-plated, 20-inch spinnaz, yo.

Darn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12383985)

We should have sent a jeep :)

If only they had a caddie (2, Funny)

chadamir (665725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12383990)

If they had a caddie they would know that they could use a sand wedge to get it out. But nasa is far too cheap and doesn't like to tip.

Hold on! (3, Funny)

rlthomps-1 (545290) | more than 9 years ago | (#12383991)

This is going to take a whole lot of floorin'! /obligatory simpsons quote

Re:Hold on! (4, Funny)

PaxTech (103481) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384183)

They should have sent a Canyonero..

Can you name the truck with four wheel drive, smells like a steak and seats thirty-five.. CANYONERO!!!

Re:Hold on! (1)

U1timateZer0 (855425) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384256)

12 yards long and 2 lanes wide;
it's 65 tons of American Pride.

Solution (2, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12383992)

Poor little rover. We should send someone up to push it out. I volunteer!

Re:Solution (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384013)

Yeah nothing like a 4 month voyage to get there... only to nudge it and fly 4 months home...

The inflight movies better be good otherwise you'll be hella bored!

Tom

Re:Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384053)

What? We have to bring him back too? Just leave him there in case it gets stuck again.

Re:Solution (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384202)

good call, he can skateboard with them like in RvB.

Tom

Re:Solution (3, Funny)

Striikerr (798526) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384208)

No need to worry! The DID install OnStar didn't they?? Just have the robotic arm press the button... What do you mean they didn't design the arm so it could press the OnStar button?!? Well, there goes THAT idea!

It's okay, it was powered by Windows XP... (-1, Troll)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 9 years ago | (#12383994)

...so that will make it Mars' fault!

Re:It's okay, it was powered by Windows XP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384199)

No way - the article said it has already worked more than a year.

Re:It's okay, it was powered by Windows XP... (1)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384222)

Actually, this incident was a demonstration of a new feature; that's how the rover was supposed to operate.

P.S. Its now also an industry standard

Dear NASA (5, Funny)

Letter (634816) | more than 9 years ago | (#12383998)

Dear NASA,

If you had let Xzibit and West Coast Customs pimp out the Rover with 20 inch rims you would have avoided this problem.

Letter

Re:Dear NASA (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384071)

If you had let Xzibit and West Coast Customs pimp out the Rover with 20 inch rims you would have avoided this problem.

Yeah, but the only thing they would have done to the drive train was put another quart of motor oil in a 25 year old Ford engine with 320,000 miles...

We'z gonna fix yo bucket!

Re:Dear NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384126)

And then the "winners" of the show have to sell the car in order to pay the insane taxes they are hit with for getting something like that.

Job well done (5, Insightful)

witchman (214735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384008)

Too bad if it's permanently stuck, but what an amazing success for this mission, which has gone on far longer that it was planned for. I hope the NASA engineers get the recognition they deserver for this job well done.

Dear NASA & JPL (5, Insightful)

computerme (655703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384009)

If any NASA or JPL people are reading this thread I have one thing to say:

Mission _very_ accomplished.

The human race knows infinitely more of our red neighbor thanks to your hard work.

THANK YOU!

Re:Dear NASA & JPL (2, Funny)

roror (767312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384087)

The One thing I hope NASA people not doing now is reading slashdot.

Re:Dear NASA & JPL (1)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384226)

Oh, I dunno. It seems to me that it would give them more useful information than reading memos from their upper management.

Re:Dear NASA & JPL (1)

01000011011101000111 (868998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384115)

I second that comment... Well done folks!

Re:Dear NASA & JPL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384138)

That it's a desert wasteland prone to random sinkholes and windstorms?

Who the fuck cares? We knew that before they spent money/time to put those rovers up there.

Now that we know it's a wasteland let's get back to worrying about exploring new areas of our own planet and ending issues we have right here at home.

Demolition derby (5, Funny)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384011)

They have two rovers. The solution is obvious.

Re:Demolition derby (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384066)

two rovers.... on opposite sides of the planet

Re:Demolition derby (3, Funny)

milimetric (840694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384262)

You're right... the rovers could have sex and in time hope to breed a mighty race of rovers which could then pull out the one that's stuck.

I'm imagining that the other rover is pretty far away and wouldn't get there for a year or so.

But hey, what's everyone all pesimistic about... as you point out, you do have two rovers, why not use the other one? The MISSION CONTINUES!

Call Triple A (3, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384014)

They'll get there in less than 30 minutes or the next tow is free!

Re:Call Triple A (3, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384275)

Actually, they need AAAA (American Astronautical Automobile Association). However, the AAAA is currently on-route to Pioneer 11 to replace the battery.

Well... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384015)

...looks like it's time to call 1-800-AAA-HELP.

Hope NASA has AAA emergency roadside assistance membership.

They found a fix (0, Redundant)

i41Overlord (829913) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384019)

One of the NASA engineers is going to use his AAA card and tell the tow truck driver that it's his rover.

AAA is going to get shafted on this one, but problem solved.

Let me say this out loud! (4, Funny)

zr-rifle (677585) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384030)

BEAGLE to the RESCUE!!!

...or maybe not...

Don't give up, NASA! (5, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384036)

"We are very optimistic that we'll be able to get out of here, but we're really going to take our time doing it."

It sounds like NASA is going to use a technique I discovered playing video games as a child. If you're stuck somewhere, just wiggle the joystick back and forth for a few hours to see if you can work your way out of it. Too bad they can't reload a saved game. I found that technique helpful too.

Re:Don't give up, NASA! (4, Informative)

nharmon (97591) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384158)

Actually you may be more right than you realize. Those with four-wheel-drive vehicles (that actually leave the pavement) know that sometimes after getting stuck, you can move the steering wheel from side to side as a way of trying to gain traction from the sides of the rut you're in.

Perhaps NASA could learn a thing or two from rednecks in 4x4 pickup trucks? *smile*

Dune, my ass (2, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384039)

My bet is that its grounded on the wreckage of Beagle II. :)

Re:Dune, my ass (5, Interesting)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384137)

My bet is that its grounded on the wreckage of Beagle II. :)

I was going to dismiss this out of hand, but FTA, Opportunity did find two small craters right before running aground. The cause?
They could have been created by an object from space that was large enough to make it through the martian atmosphere without burning up.

And, let's not forget:
"Given that these two craters haven't been covered by sand even though they are surrounded by sand ripples on a flat plain lends support to the idea that they're fairly recent."

Summary is a little too sensational (4, Informative)

calibanDNS (32250) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384040)

From TFA: Rover operators are optimistic they can extricate the robot from its jam, having gotten dug in before. and said Steve Squyres, lead scientist on the Mars Exploration Rover effort at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. "We are very optimistic that we'll be able to get out of here, but we're really going to take our time doing it."

I'd hardly interpret that as "it doesn't look good for the little guy".

Re:Summary is a little too sensational (3, Funny)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384154)

Translation:

Rover operators are optimistic they can extricate the robot from its jam

sure thing boss, no problem, get it right out of there (oh crap, we're screwed)

having gotten dug in before

Yes boss, we've done it before, no problem(I can't believe we got stuck dune hopping again, this never happens with my r/c cars at home...)

but we're really going to take our time doing it

It'll only take a little while... (OH @#$& I just dug it in deeper, whats on Monster.com?)

Re:Summary is a little too sensational (2, Informative)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384167)

Yeah, but even still I'd hate to be the guy who got it stuck right now. Talk about awkward.

Re:Summary is a little too sensational (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384249)

Tell me why you RTFA, please. It doesn't make sense. The submitter didn't read it, the editors didn't read it, and nobody else here is going to read it. Why did you? At least post a comment or two before reading it, and then come back.

Erebus station has been compromised! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384043)

They shouldn't have sent it to the Erebus station - it's been overrun with a demonic invasion.

/Doom 3 Expansion

I warned them! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384046)

I told them not to cut the winch out of the design! But do they listen? Nooooooooooo, they don't!

Re:I warned them! (2, Funny)

PhraudulentOne (217867) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384221)

Was it a winch that magically worked in sand? A Sand winch? Sandwinch... sandwich... mmm lunchtime.

The ultimate backseat drive... (1)

Pengunea (170972) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384050)

"Back up! Are you backing up? Okay that's not working, try going forward. Cut it out, you'll flood the engine! Have you tried backing up yet? Oh no, you flooded the engine!"

On the lighter side of things they might want to call up someone from Winnepeg, Toronto, or Montreal. Anyone who's used to nudging their way out of being stuck in a snow drift.

We're pulling for you little Rover, we just wish we could get out and push too!

Dune? (0, Redundant)

InsaneCreator (209742) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384052)

Watch out for those sand worms!

Re:Dune? (1)

Husgaard (858362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384203)

Yes, soon one of those giant sand worms will come and swallow the poor rover...

When the signal from the rover disappears, we finally have proof of life on Mars ;-)

ask for a push (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384055)

maybe a dust devil will give a push

Buggalo (1)

bsd4me (759597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384065)

I'm sure someone riding a buggalo will fly by soon and rescue it.

Bigger Wheels (1)

eander315 (448340) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384078)

With all of the rediculous trucks [f650pickups.com] on the road in the US, you'd think NASA would have been inspired to build a montster truck version of the rover. Couldn't we just send a Hummer next time?

Re:Bigger Wheels (1)

nharmon (97591) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384191)

Couldn't we just send a Hummer next time?

Just make sure that it isn't a Hummer H2...those things can break a tierod on anything. *duck*

BattleBots (5, Funny)

RealityMogul (663835) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384081)

If only NASA engineers watched more BattleBots they'd have realized that they needed a flipper arm underneath.

Some advice? (1)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384083)

Be real patient, go real slow and use lots of ... oh wait.

More info (5, Interesting)

Cyclotron_Boy (708254) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384085)

There's discussion on the Mars Rover Discussion Board [markcarey.com] and again [markcarey.com] . It seems careful Rover Watchers noticed that it hadn't moved in a few days, and started to wonder why. Apparently NASA had to say something, because people were asking questions.

Re:More info (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384119)

> careful Rover Watchers noticed that it hadn't moved in a few days, and started to wonder why. Apparently NASA had to say something, because people were asking questions.

My wife hasn't moved in a few days either. Being a careful watcher, I am starting to wonder why.

Re:More info (5, Informative)

Cyclotron_Boy (708254) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384168)

Actually, this shot [nasa.gov] from the Mars Rover site shows the front wheels pretty well buried and covered with caked-on soil.

Re:More info (1)

ahecht (567934) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384254)

You do realize that the first link is to a thread that is over a year old, right?

HEY!....... HEY YOU! (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384089)

Yes you, solar panel washer martian dude [msn.com] .

How about a little help over here.

Dust devil? (2, Interesting)

avalys (221114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384104)

I wonder if a passing dust devil, of the same sort that periodically clear the dust off the rover's solar panels, might be able to blow some of the sand away from the wheels?

It might take a while, but hey...

Learn to drive in snow (2, Insightful)

classicvw (743849) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384105)

Now they need somebody from upper midwest, or upper New York to show them how to get out. I have been in worse than that, and they are 6 wheel drive.

That sucks, but they got their money's worth (4, Informative)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384106)

NASA has definitely gotten their money's worth out of these two golf carts. These missions have exceded their design specifications by like 500% or something. Weren't they meant for a 90-day mission? We're going on over a year. That's nuts.

As much as my Nerd Gene wants a manned mission to Mars, it's hard to argue with the scientific value of (relatively) cheap missions like this. NASA shifted in the late 90's to a series of relatively inexpensive probes with a narrow purpose (as opposed to the Voyager-class missions). These probes make sense. For one, there's less financial damage if one fails or is destroyed. And two, they can be put together, tested, and launched more cheaply and more quickly.

And we're getting some excellent science from them. The Mars rovers were an hour-by-hour news story, then a day-by-day news story, there was a lot of public interest in them during those first few days. These kinds of missions are, I think, more crucial to human space exploration than launching a dude to Mars.

There's some things you must have people in space to accomplish, but we've got a lot to learn yet through frugal unmanned space exploration and I hate to see so much of NASA's focus being shifted towards manned operations. Honestly, I hate to see NASA continuing to be involved in the production and operational side of space exploration. I think NASA should be reformulated as a primarily science and research-oriented organization and launch operations should be almost entirely privatized. NASA does too many things and most of it not that well, and none of it efficiently.

Rover stuck on Arrakis (1)

chemstar (457943) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384107)



All that research on folding space, and look what happens.

Images (4, Informative)

Maddog Batty (112434) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384111)

The rover is driving backwards so there is more to see in the front view [nasa.gov] than there is in the back view [nasa.gov]

I hope they get it out...

Opportunity has wheel trouble already (1)

karvind (833059) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384116)

Mars Rover Opportunity has wheel trouble already earlier in april [newscientist.com] . It lost the ability to steer one of its wheels. They said: While the vehicle can still move, the failure may make it harder to study rocks up close. The rover has six wheels aligned in two rows and each of the four corner wheels has its own steering mechanism. The problem is with the front right wheel, which can still roll but is now stuck at a 7 inward angle.

Also Opportunity and Spirit were given a further 18-month mission extension on 5 April 2005.

Short Circuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384118)

Number five stay alive!

Tow Job (1)

kpwoodr (306527) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384124)

With the other rover on the other side of the planet, it looks like it will be a while before the tow truck gets there.

I bet if you called Marvin, he could help you out of a jam.

Don't they have a tiny shovel that could dig the wheel out of the dirt?

Re:Tow Job (2, Interesting)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384235)

Wouldn't it be amazing if they both lasted long enough to eventually meet up somewhere? It'd probably take years but talk about publicity! Two robots designed for 90-day missions circumnavigating another planet! I wonder if it's even possible, given their design and Mars' terrain.

Roads? (1)

mikvo (587789) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384125)

FTA: Time will also be spent figuring out what's different about the soil that has bogged down Opportunity, hoping to keep this problem from occurring down the road.

Road? Where we're going, we don't need roads!

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384132)

In other news, a spokesperson for the Council of Elders announced yet another success in the struggle against the Earthling invaders. "Our sandmines have incapacitated the autonomous monster from Earth. Though the Earthlings detected our new Illudim PU-36 Zypher weapon, it is now only a matter of time until the vicious winds of war reduces the impotent machine to nothing."

Three letters: (0, Redundant)

operagost (62405) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384142)

Triple-A.

Re:Three letters: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384185)

Crap, I am super-redundant. Bye-bye karma.

Terra Nova? (1)

Blacken00100 (864342) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384153)

Dammit, I wasted those pilots! Lost so many suits in that fight...but my drones won in the end!

Change type of vehicle? (1)

Armagguedes (873270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384156)

Considering the Martian soil is practially all sand (at least where they like to land) wouldn't it be better to use hovercrafts there? there's plenty of atmospheric gasses (CO2 mostly) and i think this doesn't get all that affected by dust.

Either that or either a miniature tracked vehicle, tank style or a roibotic spider like thingie.

Anti-grav's still a long ways off.

Re:Change type of vehicle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384243)

They have about 1% Earth atmosphere so it'd need one hell of a lift fan. And hovercrafts aren't exactly efficient. With the power constraints they're under it's a complete non-starter.

Re:Change type of vehicle? (4, Insightful)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384268)

Considering the Martian soil is practially all sand (at least where they like to land) wouldn't it be better to use hovercrafts there? there's plenty of atmospheric gasses (CO2 mostly) and i think this doesn't get all that affected by dust.

Somebody else mentioned treads as well. I'm guessing these things were considered and discarded due to the extra complexity, weight, and power requirements of those modes of locomotion.

Re:Change type of vehicle? (1)

enosys (705759) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384272)

I'm sure hovercrafts would use a lot more power than wheeled vehicles. I don't think solar panels would provide enough power for that. Plus hovercrafts would create large clouds of dust, some of which would settle on the solar panels and make things worse.

Winch (1)

crunk (844923) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384157)

As any redneck will tell you... you should never go muddin without a winch.

In other news... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384160)

In other news, AAA membership fees are being raised to $70,000,000 per year.

I envision (1)

mattmentecky (799199) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384170)

While they haven't given up yet...

I envision a NASA tech and a NASA manager lurking infront of a big control panel

Tech: Sir it appears to be...uh...stuck in some sand

Manager: Sand? Well, try all our options to get it unstuck!

Tech: I uh....can...tell it to move forward...again...

Manager: Great idea!

*Tech presses obvious large red button*

Tech: Uh...still won't move...

Manager: Well dammit, what else can we do?

Tech: We could....push the button again...

That's what we get for sending low-grade droids (1)

terrab0t (559047) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384180)

Why did this never happen to R2-D2?

A la Lancelot (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384188)

Rover: Could uh... could someone give me a push?...

If it's stuck in the Dune... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384196)

... it can start looking for... THE SPICE !!!

They've probably tried this already... (1)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384216)

....and that's probably how it got stuck, but they could possibly rock it out like a car.

I've always wondered why they built it with wheels and not tracks though. Guess some of them are wondering the same thing now.

This sucks. Really.

Terrestrial Simulations (4, Interesting)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384227)

I wouldn't worry too much about this one - the engineers are already using the engineering test rovers to test possible means of escape here on earth. The test rovers have proven invaluable in the past for modelling such complex situations (where computer models would be unlikely to be of much help).

The rover had made it many kilometers, I don't a little sand dune is going to stop it. All the scientists I've spoken to about this seemed optimistic (which was not how they felt about the spirit anomoly back in January 2004) so... I'm not worried just yet.

Does make for some very cool pictures though!
-- Justin

Time for help from the dustdevils again (4, Funny)

johnjay (230559) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384241)

Now if only one of those dustdevils that's been cleaning the solar panels would be kind enough to wedge a 2"x12" behind the drive wheel...

Use the other one (1)

sheepoo (814409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384242)

Why don't they use the other rover to push this one out of the sand dune?

Re:Use the other one (1)

crunk (844923) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384281)

...and have two stuck rovers?

those m's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384244)

Did anybody else read ... Montreal!
montreal?
muahahahahahahahahaha

Should have sent a H2 instead of a "Rover" (4, Funny)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384251)

Sure it would have only gotten a few km down away from the lander before needing to gas up, but no little dune would stop it unless the engineers were afraid of getting it dirty since they only want to use the H2 to drive to the local Mars mini-mart and back.

that aint no crater... (3, Funny)

bobsalt (575905) | more than 9 years ago | (#12384270)

looks like worm sign to me...

Now you see! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12384282)

I was suggesting adding a heavy duty winch on rovers, but no... too much weight they said. Ha! Now what are you going to do, call road service? :-P
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