NASA’s stuck Mars rover Spirit took the tiniest of steps to

free itself from a sand trap that brought it to a standstill six months ago.

After spinning its wheels for the equivalent of 8.2 feet,

the rover moved about 0.5 inches forward, 0.3 inches to the left and 0.2 inches

down, NASA reports, though it added that the motions are too small to determine

if there’s any encouraging trend at this time.

The drive commands were the second dispatched to the rover

this week. The rover aborted the first attempt after two seconds when it

detected that it might surpass limits on how far it should be allowed to tip.

NASA plans to try until at least February to extricate the

rover from the sands of Mars. Spirit and its sister rover Opportunity have been

exploring Mars for signs of past water for the last five years.

 (Inching onward. Credit NASA)