Glitches disappear - Rover takes a Sunday drive
By EXN Staff
Just after 11:00 p.m. PST last night, NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California replayed a scene that had gone missing for almost 24 hours: they cheered in jubilation. The Mars rover Sojourner somehow freed itself from the unknown menace in a software programme that had prevented it from venturing onto the Martian surface to become the first-ever remote-controlled extraterrestrial vehicle.
In the end, scientists remain unsure what caused the technical hiccups to disappear. It seems all that was needed was a rest on Mars after the long 190 million-kilometer trek from Earth. According to mission manager, Richard Cook, "the spacecraft is fine, the lander is fine, but we're all a little perplexed as to what happened".
"We can report visually six wheels on the soil," announced flight director, Chris Salvo. The 22-pound Sojourner took four minutes to ramp down off Pathfinder and unto the surface of Mars where the solar-powered rover spent about an hour exploring before bedding down for the night.
Sometime Sunday afternoon, as the Sun rises on Mars, Sojourner will resume its exploratory mission.