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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) celebrates getting the last strikeout during A&Ms games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 11, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Ring Day run rule
April 12, 2024
Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) celebrates getting the last strikeout during A&Ms games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 11, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Ring Day run rule
April 12, 2024
Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
February 24, 2024
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
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Dr. Weston Porter (top left) and researchers from the breast cancer lab. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Weston Porter)
New A&M research initiative provides cutting-edge cancer treatments
J.M. Wise, News Reporter • April 8, 2024

It has been 20 months since Michelle Pozzi, Ph.D, of Texas A&M’s Biochemistry and Biophysics department was diagnosed with cancer. However,...

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Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) celebrates getting the last strikeout during A&Ms games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 11, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Ring Day run rule
Neil Jhurani, Sports Writer • April 12, 2024

It was Ring Day in Aggieland when No. 3 Texas A&M faced off against No. 6 Vanderbilt on Friday night in the first game of a three-game set. The...

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Students, residents commemorates Eid Al-Fitr
Lasan Ukwatta Liyanage, Life & Arts Writer • April 11, 2024

This year's Eid Al-Fitr celebration, hosted by Texas A&M’s Muslim Student Association, or MSA, drew over 1,500 attendees on Wednesday,...

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Student housing located right outside off campus boundaries on George Bush Drive. 
Guest Commentary: An open letter to City Hall
Ben Crockett, Guest Contributor • April 11, 2024

City Council, As representatives of the Texas Aggie Classes of 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, we write to you today to urge a reconsideration...

Mars Mission Spirit rover stops sending data

PASADENA, Calif. – NASA’s Spirit rover stopped transmitting data from the surface of Mars, baffling engineers Thursday and bringing the vehicle’s mission to a potentially calamitous halt.
NASA received its last significant data from the unmanned Spirit early Wednesday, its 19th day on Mars. Since then, the six-wheeled rover has sent either random, meaningless radio noise or simple beeps acknowledging it has received commands from Earth.
”We now know we have had a very serious anomaly on the vehicle,” project manager Pete Theisinger said at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Engineers struggled to diagnose what was wrong with the rover. Among the possible causes: a corruption of its software or computer memory.
If the software is awry, NASA can fix it from Earth by beaming patches across more than 100 million miles of space. But if the problem lies with the rover’s hardware, the situation would be far more grave – perhaps beyond repair.
”Yes, something could break, something certainly could fail. That’s a concern we have – that’s quite a serious event,” Theisinger said.
Spirit is one-half of an $820 million mission. Its twin, Opportunity, is expected to land on Mars late Saturday. The twin rovers are supposed to examine the Red Planet’s dry rock and soil for evidence that it was once wetter and more hospitable to life.
Until Wednesday, Spirit had functioned almost flawlessly and NASA scientists and engineers had been jubilant.
Cushioned by its air bags, the rover made a bull’s-eye landing on Mars, surviving what was by far the most dangerous part of the mission – the descent through the atmosphere at 12,000 mph. Then on Jan. 15, in another nail-biting moment for NASA, the rover safely rolled down a ramp onto Mars’ ruddy soil without becoming snagged.
It has snapped thousands of pictures, including breathtaking panoramic views and microscopic images of the martian soil. It also carried out preliminary work analyzing the minerals and elements that make up its surroundings.
Steven Squyres, of Cornell University, the mission’s main scientist, cautioned that communications problems are common on spacecraft. ”While it is cause for concern, it is not cause for alarm,” he said.
NASA last heard from Spirit as it prepared to continue its work examining its first rock, just a few yards from where it landed.
Early Thursday, NASA initially heard nothing from Spirit that would indicate it was in ”fault mode,” a state that the rover enters by itself when it has experienced a problem. Later, NASA send a command to Spirit as if it were in fault mode, anyway. Spirit acknowledged with a beep that it received the command, indicating an onboard problem. That puzzled engineers.
”It is precisely like trying to diagnose a patient with different symptoms that don’t corroborate,” said Firouz Naderi, manager of JPL’s Mars exploration program.

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