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Mars exploration rover Spirit resumes driving.

Byline: ANI

Washington, Apr 25 (ANI): For the first time since April 8, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit went on a drive on April 23.

The drive took Spirit about 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) toward destinationsbout 150 meters (about 500 feet) away.

The engineers facilitated the drive while they investigate bouts Bouts is the name of
  • Aelbrecht Bouts (c. 1452-1549), An early Netherlandish painter
  • Dirk Bouts, Netherlandish painter
 of amnesia amnesia (ămnē`zhə), [Gr.,=forgetfulness], condition characterized by loss of memory for long or short intervals of time. It may be caused by injury, shock, senility, severe illness, or mental disease.  and other unusual behaviour exhibited by Spirit in the past two weeks.

Already, the rover has operated more than 20 times longer than its original prime mission on Mars Mission: on Mars, invented in New York City in 1998, is a New York-based performing ensemble and music collective that mixes live breakbeat rhythms, Indian classical sitar melodies, space-jazz guitar, middle eastern drones, into a funk chilled crater of moon walking beats. .

This week, rover engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory “JPL” redirects here. For other uses, see JPL (disambiguation).

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a NASA research center located in the cities of Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge, near Los Angeles, California, USA.
, Pasadena, Calif., judged that it would be safe to send Spirit commands for Thursday's drive.

The engineers were thinking if the rover experience another amnesia event, the day's outcome could be helpful in diagnosing those events.

Thrice thrice  
adv.
1. Three times.

2. In a threefold quantity or degree.

3. Archaic Extremely; greatly.
 in the past two weeks, Spirit has failed to record data from a day's activity period into non-volatile flash memory, which is a type of computer memory where information is preserved even when power is off, such as when the rover naps to conserve power.

"We expect we will see more of the amnesia events, and we want to learn more about them when we do," said JPL's Sharon Laubach, chief of the rover sequencing team, which develops and checks each day's set of commands.

Researchers are also investigating two other types of problems Spirit has experienced recently- failing to wake up for three consecutive communication sessions about two weeks ago and rebooting its computer on April 11, 12 and 18.

However, engineers have not yet found any causal causal /cau·sal/ (kaw´z'l) pertaining to, involving, or indicating a cause.

causal

relating to or emanating from cause.
 links among these three types of events.

Last week, the researchers checked whether moving the rover's high-gain antenna The high-gain antenna (HGA) is an antenna with a focused, narrow radiowave beam width. This narrow beam width allows more precise targeting of the radio signal - also known as a directional antenna.  could trigger problems, but routine communication via that dish antenna resumed on April 20.

Spirit has maintained stable power and thermal conditions throughout the problem events this month, although power output by its solar panels has been significantly reduced since mid-2007 by dust covering the panels.

"We decided not to wait until finishing the investigations before trying to drive again. Given Spirit's limited power and the desire to make progress toward destinations to the south, there would be risks associated with not driving," said Laubach.

Researchers have made a change in Spirit's daily routine in order to help in the diagnostic work if the rover experiences another failure to record data into flash memory. (ANI)

Copyright 2009 Asian News International The Asian News International (ANI) agency provides multimedia news to China and 50 bureaus in India. It covers virtually all of South Asia since its foundation and presently claims, on its official website, to be the leading South Asia-wide news agency.  (ANI) - All Rights Reserved.

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Apr 25, 2009
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