Spirit’s days of exploring Mars for NASA are over:
Spirit, the golf-cart-sized Mars rover that brought the Red Planet to life, has died. It was 7 years old.
The rover “really has rewritten our understanding of the planet,” said John Callas, the NASA program manager for Spirit and its twin Mars robot, Opportunity.
“Mars is no longer a strange place,” Callas said from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s our neighborhood.”
Spirit actually expired sometime after March 22, 2010, the last time it communicated with NASA scientists. NASA has spent the past year trying to reestablish contact, but Callas admitted that those attempts are mostly exhausted.
“We always knew it would come to this point,” he said. “It’s no surprise. It’s like when your 98-year-old grandmother goes into the hospital. The expectation is that she’s not going to come home.”