Opportunity for remote surgery

Space engineers have managed to fix a robot probe’s broken arm 60million miles away on Mars.
The shoulder joint on the rover Opportunity failed last month after nearly two years of studying rocks on the red planet.
Nasa experts at mission control in Pasadena, California, believe a wire inside the joint snapped from the strain of working in the harsh environment.
The rover’s handlers have managed to get round the problem by applying more electrical power to the motor in the shoulder.
Only snag is the arm can’t bend back properly any more so Opportunity will motor around looking like it is carrying a lance.
Opportunity landed at Meridiani Planum on Mars on January 25 last year, three weeks after a sister rover Spirit arrrived on the other side of the planet.
They were only meant to operate for three months but both have overcome major problems to keep operating and experimenting for nearly TWO Earth years.
They have both been going for just over one martian year and the engineers expect more parts to fail now their mission has continued for so long.
Opporunity, which has sent home more than 58,000 photos from Mars, will next trundle south to a half mile wide depression called Victoria Crater to look for more evidence of water and life.
Science manager John Callas said at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: “Victoria is a potential ‘time tunnel’, allowing access to ancient martian material that otherwise would be buried deep beneath the surface.”

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

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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.

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