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Curiosity in context: Not exactly "Viking on wheels," but close

Emily Lakdawalla • November 21, 2011

As I was beginning my research for my two magazine articles on the Curiosity rover's upcoming mission to Mars, I needed to figure out for myself how exactly this gigantic, ungainly machine fit in to the context of past Martian missions.

In their own words

Emily Lakdawalla • August 16, 2011

While doing my daily reading today I was struck by the awesomeness of two recent blog posts. Both were composed not by professional bloggers like me but by professional space explorers, one a scientist and the other an engineer.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Closes in on Endeavour as Team Bids Farewell to Spirit

A.J.S. Rayl • July 31, 2011

Opportunity seemed to sail with the wind behind her back toward the western rim of Endeavour Crater this month as the Mars Exploration Rover team shifted gears in preparation for a whole new adventure, taking time out only to bid a final farewell both privately and publicly to Spirit.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Roves Back into Record Books, Spirit is Honored

A.J.S. Rayl • June 30, 2011

Opportunity 'burned up' the Meridiani Plains in June as it raced toward its much-anticipated next destination and the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission cruised into the 90th month of what was originally to have been a 90-day tour.

In Memory of Spirit, and Why Cuteness Matters

Melissa Rice • June 15, 2011

An analysis of "cuteness," and why it matters when talking about science.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Mission Declared Over, Opportunity Roves Closer to Endeavour

A.J.S. Rayl • May 31, 2011

The Mars Exploration mission suffered the loss of Spirit and shifted to one-rover operations in May, but Opportunity carried on, blasting across the plains of Meridiani to within 2 miles (3.5 kilometers) of its next major destination and discovery.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: NASA Ends Spirit Mission

A.J.S. Rayl • May 26, 2011

The intensified effort to recover Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit came to an end early Wednesday morning Pacific time and NASA has now transitioned the mission to a single-rover operation focused on Spirit's still-active twin, Opportunity.

A picture of Spirit that's too poetical for words

Emily Lakdawalla • May 25, 2011

Yesterday, I remarked that despite the declaration of her death we'll be seeing Spirit frequently over the next few years, as long as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is still monitoring her landing site with its HiRISE camera. I said that Spirit is a lump that's relatively easy to spot because of her dark shadow. Well, Spirit's managed to make herself even easier to spot than that.

Sad news for Spirit: It's All Over But the Crying

Emily Lakdawalla • May 24, 2011

Alicia Chang reported today that, according to project manager John Callas, the last attempt to uplink a command to the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit will be made tomorrow. NASA will cease listening for signals from Spirit on Tuesday.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Recovery Attempt Continues, Opportunity Sprints to Endeavour

A.J.S. Rayl • April 30, 2011

As Opportunity drove her little robot heart out, breaking the 28-kilometer mark on her odometer, and driving the longest backward drive ever, April proved to be another month of exhilarating highs for the Mars Exploration Rover mission and one extended low with only silence from Spirit, despite intensified efforts by her Earth crew to establish contact.

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