NASA's Mars Opportunity rover falls on hard times

NASA's Mars Opportunity rover has already long outlasted its original 90 day mission, but it looks like the go-getter bot is now really starting to show its age, as NewScientist reports that problems with two key instruments have left the rover "crippled and blinded." As NewScientist points out, however, these latest issues are far from the first to plague Opportunity (and its counterpart, Spirit), and it's still suffering from a malfunctioning wheel and an "arthritic" robotic arm, both problems of which first cropped up in 2005. While NASA has currently suspended all work involving the rover's rock grinding tool and its infrared spectrometer, it's apparently hoping to get the spectrometer back up and running by shaking off some of the dust causing the problems, and at least one NASA official expects both rovers to keep "going for years more."