Over on Mars, NASA's "Spirit" rover will be able to keep going strong thanks to another lucky bit of wind:|
JPL's Jennifer Herman, a rover team engineer, found the first evidence for the new cleaning event in engineering data from the Martian day 1,812 of Spirit's mission on the Red Planet (Feb. 6, 2009) and confirmed it from the following two days' data. Before the event, dust buildup on the solar array had reached the point where only 25 percent of sunlight hitting the array was getting past the dust to be used by the photovoltaic cells. Afterwards, that increased to 28 percent. NASA needs a few more missions like these - ones that far outperform their original design specifications.
"It may not sound like a lot, but it is an important increase," Herman said.