The Martian rover Spirit is now in the race of its life. The rolling robot [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap051214.html ] is trying to reach an outpost to spend the winter, but it keeps getting bogged down [ http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn13001-mars-rover-spirit-escapes-from-sandy-dungeon.html ] in soft sand on Mars [ http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/technologies/31jan_sandsofmars.html ]. Earth scientists hope that Spirit [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_rover ] can reach [ http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn12884-mars-rover-spirit-to-head-north-for-the-winter.html ] a slope on the northern edge of the unusual feature dubbed Home Plate [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Plate_%28Mars%29 ], before the end of this month when northern winter [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap041130.html ] will be phasing in on Mars [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars ]. Reaching this slope will likely allow the rover [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap040127.html ] to tilt enough toward the Sun to create a needed increase [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap060406.html ] in the efficiency of its energy-absorbing solar panels [ http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-solar-panels-work.htm ]. This map [ http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/spirit/20071129a.html ] shows the path of Spirit from July 2004 until just last month.