Last night NASA made one last attempt to contact the Spirit Mars rover, which got stuck in the sand two years ago and hadn’t been heard from since March 22. Nobody expected a response after 1200 previous unanswered messages, and sure enough, there was no answer from Mars. So, with the chances of success “practically zero,” according to project manager John Callas, Spirit has officially been pronounced dead.
Nobody can say it didn’t have a good run. The rover lasted for more than six years on Mars, when the requirement was just three months. Callas told reporters yesterday that when Mars scientists meet later this summer to review Spirit‘s scientific results, the mood will be more like an Irish wake than a funeral. Besides, its twin rover, Opportunity, is still going strong.
Here’s a recap of Spirit‘s life on Mars from some of the people at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who knew the rover best.