NASA Unveils Plan to Free Stuck Mars Rover Spirit

Months of planning are finally coming to fruition: NASA engineers are ready to begin trying to maneuver the plucky rover Spirit out of its sandy trap on Mars.
Mission managers are sober about the prospects for freeing Spirit. They will send the first commands to the rover to try to move on Monday, “but this process could take quite awhile if it’s possible at all,” said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The new plan will command Spirit to try to backtrack and use the tracks it left before getting stuck to make the escape attempt.
Spirit has been stuck in a spot of soft, sandy dirt (called “Troy”) on the Martian surface since April when it broke through what mission scientists call a “dirt crust” — a hard top layer of dirt disguising a layer of soft, talcum powder-like material below.
“Spirit did the equivalent of falling through the ice over a frozen pond,” McCuistion said.