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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Endures Reboots and Amnesia, Opportunity Races Forward

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/04/30 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers challenged their ground crews with an April full of high drama, a little suspense, and a lot of energy. While Spirit lived through a kind of robot soap opera, complete with bewildering reboots and bouts of amnesia, Opportunity roved forward and back into the fast lane on a restored front wheel, slowing down for a brief visit to a series of small, intriguing craters and an unplanned close encounter with a pesky little purgatoid.

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Spirit hiccup

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/04/13 05:57 CDT

Another of those dreaded "status reports" from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory arrived in my mailbox just now.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Breaks Rove Record, Opportunity Sees Endeavour's Distant Rim

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/03/31 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers logged a memorable March, with Spirit finally making some serious tracks and setting a new driving record for a five-wheeled rover, and Opportunity getting a first glimpse on the distant horizon of its next big attraction, Endeavour Crater as it crossed a geologic boundary into a new field of "blueberries."

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Spirit puts the pedal to the metal

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/03/24 10:15 CDT

Way to go, Spirit! The last two drives for the five-wheeled rover have taken it a total of about 40 meters west, traveling around the north edge of Home Plate. If I'm not mistaken, that's more than Spirit has driven in the last 400 sols combined.

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What are the rovers up to?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/03/05 02:15 CST

As usual, troubled Spirit's progress sometimes amounts to only centimeters, while golden child Opportunity has already clocked four kilometers on its trek toward Endeavour.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Gains A little Power, Opportunity Loses a Little Steam

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/02/28 11:00 CST

Despite some struggles with terrain and technology, the Mars Exploration Rovers moved their missions forward in February, as Spirit and Opportunity pressed on toward their next major Martian attractions.

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Spirit update: It keeps going

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/02/04 11:04 CST

There have been a couple more releases from JPL in recent days updating the slightly worrisome announcement about Spirit that came out on January 28.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit and Opportunity Begin Sixth Year of Exploration

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/01/31 11:00 CST

The Mars Exploration Rover mission crossed the finish line of another major milestone this month, marking its fifth anniversary of exploring the Red Planet. As team members celebrated and shared stories in events all around Los Angeles, Spirit and Opportunity kept on roving, bucking up under the inevitable pains of growing older. They're heading now for their next major destinations.

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Spirit's not behaving normally -- sometimes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/28 03:13 CST

Rather than try to interpret what's going on, I'm just going to repost in full a "rover mission status report" (always an ominous subject heading) I just received from the JPL media relations office. I'll post updates when any are available.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Five Years of Living Vicariously on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/24 10:33 CST

Next in The Planetary Society's 365 Days of Astronomy doubleheader is Planetary Society President Jim Bell, whose show, airing today, is on "Five Years of Living Vicariously on Mars."

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What are the rovers up to?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/21 06:48 CST

Spirit's been getting some nice views of the spot it spent all of 2008 in, "Home Plate north." Meanwhile, Opportunity is motoring along.

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Some events for the 5th anniversary of Spirit and Opportunity's landing on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/14 05:49 CST

Tonight at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena, Jim Bell and Bill Nye will be celebrating the 5th anniversary of the landing of the rovers; Jim will be showing lots of pretty 3D pictures.

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The Santorini panorama

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/08 11:48 CST

A tip of the hat to Ryan over at Martian Chronicles for posting this lovely version of the Santorini panorama, which Opportunity captured just before Mars dipped too close to the Sun in late November of last year.

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Spirit moved!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/07 12:24 CST

Hallelujah! For the first time in almost an Earth year, amateur mars mapper Eduardo Tesheiner is able to scratch a tiny little line on his map of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's peregrinations across Gusev Crater.

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I am totally hooked on Scott Maxwell's new Mars Exploration Rover blog

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/06 11:57 CST

Scott Maxwell is one of those many guys (and gals) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who rarely gets his name in the news but who is absolutely indispensable to the success of a space mission. I don't know what his official title is, but whatever it is, it's not as good as the colloquial name given to his position: Rover Driver.

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Five Years of Spirit on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/02 10:15 CST

On January 3, 2004, the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit landed on Mars, and I was with the science team at JPL when it happened! I can't believe it's been five years since the successful landing.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: As Spirit and Opportunity Rove On, We Look Back on 2008

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2008/12/31 11:00 CST

As 2008 fades to the pages of history, Spirit and Opportunity are closing in on the end of their fifth year of exploration on the Red Planet and moving the Mars Exploration Rover mission forward into a new year of bold scientific objectives.

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Another longevity milestone for Spirit and Opportunity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/12/29 05:03 CST

We're getting close to the fifth anniversary of the landings of Spirit and Opportunity, but was we approach that milestone, we're passing another. I've been told that as of yesterday, Spirit and Opportunity have operated on Mars for a combined length of time that is longer than the combined number of sols that the twin Viking landers operated.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Recuperates from Dust Storm, Opportunity Hits on Santorini

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2008/11/30 11:00 CST

The Mars Exploration Rovers are nearing the end of their fifth year of exploring the Red Planet in dramatically different ways.

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Solar conjunction: Holidays for Mars missions, and an Opportunity update

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/11/21 01:09 CST

The period of Mars solar conjunction has just begun, which means that a host of scientists and engineers whose day jobs entail interaction with the five active Mars spacecraft are getting a five-week break from the daily grind of operations.

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