Spirit rover not sending info

National Aeronautic and Space Administration

NASA scientists reported today that the Mars exploration rover, Spirit, has not transmitted information since early Jan. 21.

Project managers working on the Mars mission have not yet found a reason for the interruption in the data flow, but said that Spirit received a transmission from Earth this morning.

Spirit radioed back to Earth a beep that confirmed it had received the scientists' transmission. However, the robotic explorer has not sent scientific data or images during scheduled communication passes since early yesterday.

NASA officials said similar events happened several times during the Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997.

Flight engineers are working to resolve the communication glitch. Possible reasons for the failure include software problems, a power surge or hardware failure. It's also possible that Spirit detected a problem with the software and is trying to correct itself.

A second Mars exploration rover, Opportunity, is currently en route to Mars and is expected to land around midnight Jan. 24.

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