Astronomy current events question: Spirit rover incommunicado?

Astronomy 210L, Spring Semester 2011
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students are assigned to read online articles on current astronomy events, and take a short current events quiz during the first 10 minutes of lab. (This motivates students to show up promptly to lab, as the time cut-off for the quiz is strictly enforced!)
Guy Webster, "NASA Checking on Rover Spirit During Martian Spring," November 4, 2010
Why might the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit no longer be able to contact NASA mission controllers?
(A) Batteries damaged by cold.
(B) Too much solar power.
(C) A massive dust storm.
(D) Covered over with dry ice snow.
(E) A massive solar flare.

Correct answer: (A)

Student responses
Sections 30678, 30679, 30680
(A) : 9 students
(B) : 0 students
(C) : 2 students
(D) : 2 students
(E) : 5 students

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