Mars buggy clears sand trap

A Nasa buggy is free again on Mars after suffering every driver’s nightmare – getting stuck in sand.

Opportunity got bogged down in loose martian soil last month as it tried to cross between two dunes to head for Victoria Crater half a mile away.

The rear two of the robot rover’s six wheels spun in the soft sand as operators in California tried to free it. They finally got back onto solid ground it by edging the rover very slowly backwards over several days.

Opportunity is exploring the Meridiani Planum near the Martian equator. Nasa has decided to name the sand trap Jammerbugt, meaning the Bay of Lamentation in Danish.

Opportunity and sister rover Spirit will get a software upgrade this month over a distance of 242 million miles. They are still roaming the Red Planet more than two and a quarter years after they landed on missions designed to last just 90 days.

Spirit is resting out winter with a broken wheel in Gusev Crater on the opposite side of Mars to Opportunity.

The image is courtesy NASA/JPL.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

Get free Skymania news updates by email

Sign up for alerts to our latest reports. No spam ever - we promise!


Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *