On Wednesday, the American space agency will make a final attempt to get in touch with the lost rover. Hopes are (although those hopes have proven futile in the past 10 months or so) that the rover might be reawakened by the sun, after what was a harsh Martian winter.
Spirit arrived on Mars, at the Gusev Crater, on January 3, 2004. It left Earth alongside its brother vehicle Opportunity. Their mission, the first on the site exploration of the Red Planet, was supposed to last for three months. However, the two rovers managed to impress the entire world by continuing to operate for years after they were supposed to break down.
The entire Mars rover project cost NASA $820 million. In return for their money, the agency received the single slowest, most expensive self-propelled vehicles ever made by man: 0.18 km/h is the vehicles' top speed. Now, NASA is getting ready to launch, by the end of the year, the third Martian rover, the Curiosity.
"We're now transitioning assets to support the November launch of our next generation Mars rover, Curiosity," said Dave Lavery, NASA’s program executive for solar system exploration. "However, while we no longer believe there is a realistic probability of hearing from Spirit, the Deep Space Network may occasionally listen for any faint signals when the schedule permits."