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Mars Rover Opportunity Has Broken Wheel Motor

Opportunities right wheel actuator stalled on Sol 433.
Los Angeles, CA (SPX) Apr 16, 2005
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has experienced a significant breakdown with the suspected failure of the front right wheel motor.

According to a report posted on Doug Ellison's renowned Mars forum Unmannedspaceflight.com, "Opportunity's right front steering actuator stalled near the end of the drive on sol 433 (after 150 meters of driving).

"On sol 434, they backed up a meter or so and tried to straighten the wheel, but the steering motor stalled again without moving at all. Imaging doesn't show any reason for the stall. The wheel is about 7 degrees off from straight, which would still be driveable if they can't resolve the problem."

In the immediate period to the breakdown, Opportunity has reached Viking Crater, before continuing to Voyager Crater, taking panoramas of each crater and conducting detailed surface inspections.

During this period the Mars Odyssey orbiter also went into safe mode causing a suspension of data relay to Earth.

Driving resumed on sol 428 with data downlinked via the direct-to-Earth link. With the exception of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (analysis is still in progress), Opportunity is in excellent health.

Related Links
Mars Rovers at JPL
Mars Rovers at Cornell
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