A couple of minor "hiccups" in getting NASA's Spirit rover settled in on Mars have delayed the rover's roll-off from the landing platform until at least next Wednesday, Jet Propulsion Laboratory officials said.
The problems involved the rover's high-gain antenna, which provides a high-speed data link directly with Earth, and the collapsed air bag that cushioned the craft's landing in Gusev Crater Saturday.
Neither problem was expected to seriously impact the overall mission, the officials said at a news conference Wednesday in Pasadena, Calif.
The first problem apparently has resolved itself. When the team first started moving the lollipop-shaped high-gain antenna to orient it toward Earth, engineers noticed short spikes in the electrical current it was drawing, suggesting the motors were encountering difficulty in moving it.
But when they went back and tried to move the antenna again, it moved smoothly, said Arthur Amador, mission manager for the fifth Martian day.
"There must have been some debris in the motor housing or stickiness that was taken care of" in the last maneuvering, he said.
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