Mars Rover Goes Missing
May be 'hibernating' to survive Martian winter
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User
Posted Apr 1, 2010 2:26 AM CDT
Updated Apr 1, 2010 5:30 AM CDT
The Mars rover may be 'hibernating' to survive the Martian winter.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – The Mars rover is MIA. The machine has failed to make a scheduled communication with the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, and NASA officials are speculating that the aging Spirit may have gone into power-saving "hibernation" mode to survive the red planet's winter. "We may not hear from Spirit again for weeks or months," says one scientist.

Officials are hopeful communication will be reestablished. "Our expectation is that Spirit will resume communications when the batteries are sufficiently charged," the scientist told MSNBC. The machine survived previous winters by tilting its solar panels toward the sun, but it's now stuck in the sand with two of its six wheels broken.