NASA today officially declared Spirit dead. I am sad, really sad. Spirit, along with Opportunity, landed on Mars over 6 years ago with a mission plan of 3 months. Spirit would still be going except he got stuck and couldn’t get into position to keep enough power to last through the bitter cold Martian winter. After over an Earth year of no contact, they ceased attempts to get him to contact.
Spirit last communicated on March 22, 2010, as Martian winter approached and the rover’s solar-energy supply declined. The rover operated for more than six years after landing in January 2004 for what was planned as a three-month mission. NASA checked frequently in recent months for possible reawakening of Spirit as solar energy available to the rover increased during Martian spring. A series of additional re-contact attempts ended today, designed for various possible combinations of recoverable conditions.
Spirit drove 4.8 miles (7.73 kilometers), more than 12 times the goal set for the mission. The drives crossed a plain to reach a distant range of hills that appeared as mere bumps on the horizon from the landing site; climbed slopes up to 30 degrees as Spirit became the first robot to summit a hill on another planet; and covered more than half a mile (nearly a kilometer) after Spirit’s right-front wheel became immobile in 2006. The rover returned more than 124,000 images. It ground the surfaces off 15 rock targets and scoured 92 targets with a brush to prepare the targets for inspection with spectrometers and a microscopic imager.
“What’s really important is not only how long Spirit worked or how far Spirit drove, but also how much exploration and scientific discovery Spirit accomplished,” Callas said.
As some one else said before I could (dangit!):
So long, Spirit, and thanks for the data.