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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Parks for Winter, Opportunity Tastes Chocolate Hills

A.J.S. Rayl • February 28, 2010

As winter put the freeze on in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, the Mars Exploration Rovers slowed down a bit, but continued throughout February to demonstrate the mettle that made them famous: Spirit successfully drove backwards, parked in place for the season, then continued working, as Opportunity roved through rock debris on a cruise around the rim of Concepcin Crater.

Find pics and track the rovers in Google Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • February 11, 2010

I think a goodly proportion of you readers have already figured this out for yourselves since it was launched last March, but I didn't download and install it until last weekend, so this is new to me: Google Mars is awesome.

Pretty picture: Opportunity around Concepcion

Emily Lakdawalla • February 09, 2010

Here's a neat picture from Opportunity, a panorama composed of its wide-angle, mast-mounted Navcam cameras, showing the crater Concepcion.

Manic Monday: Chocolate Hills, Io, and NASA's budget

Emily Lakdawalla • February 08, 2010

Although I am not suffering under the "snowpocalypse" on the East Coast, I woke up to Monday absolutely buried under a massive pile of things to do for both home and work, and it looks like it's going to take me a few days to dig out. So, with apologies, I'm going to make today's post a linky one.

That's a lot of motion for a "stuck" rover!

Emily Lakdawalla • February 06, 2010

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory posted a video to YouTube today showing what seems to be a remarkable amount of motion out of Spirit lately, especially given that she's supposed to be a "stationary science platform" now.

A pretty picture of Concepcion crater

Emily Lakdawalla • February 01, 2010

It looks like the rover team thinks Concepcion is pretty enough (in both aesthetic and a scientific senses) to be worthy of the full-color Pancam panorama treatment; color frames started arriving on Earth over the weekend.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Rovers Pass 6-Year Milestone as Spirit Halts Extrication to Winter at Troy, Opportunity Cruises to Concepcion Crater

A.J.S. Rayl • January 31, 2010

Five and a half years after they were supposed to be history, the Mars Exploration Rovers celebrated their sixth Earth year on the Red Planet with Opportunity pulling up to a fresh, new crater on the road to Endeavour, and Spirit working on repositioning itself to settle in for the coming Martian winter, and perhaps the rest of its mission.

Opportunity's thousand-year-old crater

Emily Lakdawalla • January 29, 2010

Since leaving Marquette Island on sol 2,122, Opportunity has been barreling southward on her journey toward Endeavour crater. On her horizon for the last several sols has been a very small but very fresh looking crater named ConcepciĆ³n.

NASA decides Spirit is henceforth to be a lander

Emily Lakdawalla • January 26, 2010

There was a press briefing today that announced the official end of efforts to extricate Spirit from her sand trap at Troy. Instead, the rover drivers will now focus on improving the chances that Spirit will survive the coming winter so that she can carry on doing science once the power situation improves in the spring.

Brief rover update: "We do not believe [Spirit] is extractable."

Emily Lakdawalla • January 26, 2010

There's a press briefing going on right now that marks today, January 26, 2010, more than six years after she landed, the day that NASA decided that Spirit's roving days were over.

Just a Few More Approaches to Try for Extrication

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2010

"The list of remaining maneuvers being considered for extricating Spirit is becoming shorter."

Spirit's still "extricating"

Emily Lakdawalla • January 08, 2010

It's been two months, now, that extrication efforts have been going on. It's discouraging that the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit isn't out of the trap.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Perseveres Struggles, Opportunity Digs in at Marquette Island -- And We Look Back on 2009

A.J.S. Rayl • December 31, 2009

The Mars Exploration Rovers quietly wrapped up 2009 this month: Spirit continued to valiantly spin its wheels in an attempt to get out of its embedded location on the west side of Home Plate in Gusev Crater; and Opportunity continued its investigation of Marquette Island, perhaps the oldest Martian rock it's found to date at Meridiani Planum.

Worsening outlook for Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2009

I just got a press release from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that made my heart sink; the extrication effort for Spirit is not going at all well. I did not want to keep sounding a knell of bad news. But once in a while, I do have to report bad news.

Happy Christmas on Mars!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 24, 2009

This was so cute I had to repost it -- and record it too.

Watch that front wheel spin!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 17, 2009

Holy cow, look at that right front wheel spin. I am alternately amazed and horrified by this animation.

No, they can't push with the arm to free Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • December 15, 2009

I've gotten this question about once a week since Spirit got stuck, but yesterday, two different readers asked the same question within an hour of each other, so I figured it was time for a blog entry.

A teeny weeny bit of movement in Spirit's right front wheel

Emily Lakdawalla • December 14, 2009

The ever-vigilant Doug Ellison just posted this animation, which really actually does show a teeny tiny bit of motion in the right front wheel. If you don't notice any motion, look closer.

Awesome Mars Express view of Phobos and Deimos together

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2009

My inbox was exploding this morning with messages about a tremendously cool animation released this morning by ESA's Mars Express team. It shows Phobos crossing Deimos, in what's known as a "mutual event."

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Turns Wheels, Opportunity Rests at Rare Martian Rock

A.J.S. Rayl • November 30, 2009

The Mars Exploration Rovers managed to make history and uncover history in November and that put both Spirit and Opportunity in the planetary exploration spotlight during the 71st month of an overland expedition that was supposed to be a three-month tour.

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