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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit and Opportunity Wrap Year 4, Ready to Rove into 2008

A.J.S. Rayl • December 31, 2007

The mission was only supposed to last three months, maybe six months if all went well, but the Mars Exploration Rovers surprised everyone. Demonstrating an uncanny kind of "robot right stuff," they roved far beyond what anyone dreamed and now, in a matter of days, Spirit and Opportunity will celebrate their 4th birthdays and rove into their fifth year of exploring the Red Planet.

A dusty start to Spirit's winter

Emily Lakdawalla • December 14, 2007

Dust from the sky has settled on both the rover deck and the surrounding landscape. The dust-covered solar cells will not be able to generate as much power as when they were clean. Unless a puff of wind dusts off the solar panels, Spirit may have difficulty surviving the approaching Martian winter.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Thrashes with Tartarus, Opportunity Wrestles RAT at Victoria's Ring

A.J.S. Rayl • November 30, 2007

Nail-biting drama and the inevitable signs of aging marked the month of November for the Mars Exploration Rovers, with Spirit accidentally encountering Tartarus, a dust-filled crater, on its way to its winter haven and having to thrash for its life, and Opportunity spending a lot of its time conducting tests on its RAT (rock abrasion tool), which lost another encoder.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Homes in on Winter Site as Opportunity Examines Victoria's Ring

A.J.S. Rayl • October 31, 2007

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) logged another major milestone in October as they completed a second Martian year of field geology and now may rove on through 2009.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Slides Across Home Plate as Opportunity Digs in at Victoria Crater

A.J.S. Rayl • September 30, 2007

It might not be the stuff of Broadway musicals, but the Sun and did "come out tomorrow" on Mars. Just eight weeks after dust from severe storms darkened the Martian skies and threatened their solar-powered lives, the Mars Exploration Rovers finished dusting off as much as possible and took off on their long-anticipated expeditions this month, with Spirit roving onto an old volcanic formation called Home Plate and Opportunity cruising into Victoria Crater.

Skies slowly lightening for Spirit and Opportunity

Emily Lakdawalla • September 07, 2007

I just received another batch of "tau" images from rover camera lead Jim Bell to add to my visualizations of the rovers' dark skies. These pictures provide a direct measurement of the opacity of the atmosphere between the rovers and the Sun.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit and Opportunity Shake Some Dust, Assess Storm Damage, and Return to Exploring

A.J.S. Rayl • August 31, 2007

With dust from the summer's storms floating down on and all around them, the Mars Exploration Rovers returned to their exploration agendas this month, picking up right where they left off in July when winds kicked the soils up into the southern hemisphere and forced them to hunker down and conserve power.

Dust storm update: A rover's-eye-view

Emily Lakdawalla • August 29, 2007

I haven't written an update on the dust storm at Mars recently for two reasons. For one, the rovers are out of immediate danger, so it wasn't as urgent. The other reason is that Jim Bell wanted Cornell to issue a press release with updated versions of the images and animations I've been putting together from the rovers' "tau" images.

A little good news on the rovers

Emily Lakdawalla • August 08, 2007

The skies aren't quite as dark as they have been, for both Spirit and Opportunity. In fact, Spirit has enough power now to be doing a little work with its robotic arm.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity and Spirit Brave Global Dust Storm

A.J.S. Rayl • July 31, 2007

It was to be a Martian summer to remember. Just one month ago, the Mars Exploration Rovers were set to embark on long-awaited adventures. At Meridiani Planum, Opportunity was preparing for its grand entrance into the magnificent Victoria Crater and on the other side of the planet Spirit was finally going to explore the top of Home Plate, an old, intriguing volcanic formation in the Gusev Crater area. Then a series of dust storms hit suddenly, it was a Martian summer to remember alright, but for far different, windswept reasons.

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