NASA has officially given up on re-establishing contact with the Spirit rover on the surface of Mars.
I have some personal attachment to these little guys. Well, I have some attachment to the Red Planet and these two have done an amazing amount of work, proving that Mars once harbored liquid water upon its surface.
The MER rovers also represent something else for me. They were designed to work on the martian surface for only 90 earth days and Spirit’s twin, Opportunity, is still roving six years Earth years later. Its the kind of design mentality I’d like to see replicated. They’ve proven their designs and I scratch my head as to why we aren’t building more of these, outfitting them with better instrumentation (perhaps tools to let them do other things on Mars besides drilling rocks). Had Spirit not gotten stuck in dirt, it would likely still be operational today. Unfortunately it wasn’t stuck in a place that let it adapt to the declining sunlight during Martian winter, and so its power levels dropped too low, its components didn’t remain heated, and ultimately something critical broke.
So Spirit is now a monument, and one that I hope future Martian colonists will be able to recover and provide a proper tribute for.
I share with you a video highlighting the Mars Exploration Rover dubbed Spirit: