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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.

Encouraging motion on Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2009

It really looks like the second attempt at driving Spirit out of the trap has had the hoped-for result: some forward progress (maybe about a centimeter), and no evidence for further downward sinking.

Space Imaging II: Getting Started with MER and Cassini Raw Images now available for download

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2009

I probably crammed too much into today's class: an hour-and-a-half whirlwind tour through the cameras on the rovers and Cassini, how to access their raw images on the Internet, and some basic processing that you can do with each of them.

Opportunity's poking at Marquette Island; Cassini's catching dancing moons

Emily Lakdawalla • November 18, 2009

Since tomorrow's class is going to be on playing with raw images from the rovers and Cassini, I've been playing with recent raw images from the rovers and Cassini! I just thought I'd share a couple of the fun items I've been working with.

Results of the first "Free Spirit" extrication drive, sol 2088: not much, as expected

Emily Lakdawalla • November 17, 2009

Even though all of us rover fans know that Spirit is really, really stuck, I think I'm not the only one who was secretly hoping that today's images downlinked from Spirit would show that the rover had magically popped out of the ground overnight. Of course, she didn't.

Highlights from today's Spirit press briefing

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2009

Since A. J. S. Rayl was also listening in on today's press briefing about the efforts to extricate Spirit from her predicament at Troy, I'll just hit the high points and send you over to her story when she has posted it.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Begins Extraction Process

A.J.S. Rayl • November 12, 2009

On Monday, November 16, 2009, Mars Exploration Rover Spirit will begin the much-anticipated, weeks-long process of extricating itself from a patch of powdery soil that stopped it in its tracks six months ago. It will begin by driving forward to the north, following its tracks out, even though its right front wheel is broken and immobilized.

Planetary Radio Q and A: Are meteorites on Mars actually interesting?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 09, 2009

The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been studying a lot of meteorites. That made me wonder, why study meteorites on Mars when we can study them in hand on Earth? How are Mars meteorites interesting?

She moves! "First drive sequence in 145 sols" for Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2009

It's been an awful long time since we've seen one of these from Spirit: an animation of four Navcam frames documenting motion!

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Overcomes Setbacks and Waits for Extraction Orders, Opportunity Takes a Magical Meteorite Tour

A.J.S. Rayl • October 31, 2009

The Mars Exploration Rover mission logged another textbook-rewriting month in October 2009 with more discoveries of geologic gems, new robot achievements balanced with equal amounts of challenges and frustrations overcome, topped off with special honors.

Opportunity's world of dunes and rock

Emily Lakdawalla • October 16, 2009

Opportunity's been making tracks lately, with brief stops to check out a couple of meteorites. I thought this view of its surroundings on sol 2,034 (a couple of days ago) was neat.

It would appear that Opportunity has stumbled upon another meteorite

Emily Lakdawalla • October 02, 2009

I wonder if this came from the same original body as Block Island, or if Meridiani is the kind of slowly deflating landscape that accumulates meteorites at its surface, like the ANSMET meteorite hunting spots in Antarctica?

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Embedded Spirit Waits Exit Approval, Opportunity Celebrates New Mars Year with New Record

A.J.S. Rayl • September 30, 2009

From notable achievements and new discoveries to trials and tribulations and harbingers of hope, the Mars Exploration Rovers seemed to experience the gamut on the Red Planet this September, their 69th month on an expedition that originally set out back in 2004 for a three-month tour.

Opportunity on the move

Emily Lakdawalla • September 29, 2009

Opportunity rover is driving, driving, driving. It departed the meteorite named Block Island on sol 2,004 and has routinely clocked 70 meters per driving day (with drives every other day).

Beautiful 3D animation of Spirit's environs in Gusev Crater

Emily Lakdawalla • September 23, 2009

Doug Ellison has done it again: he's created a spectacular overflight of Gusev crater based upon digital elevation models of the terrain produced by the United States Geological Survey from HiRISE data.

Opportunity's highway, and a tour of Block Island

Emily Lakdawalla • September 15, 2009

Just a cool image to start the morning: after a 70-meter drive yesterday, Opportunity's following not one but two sets of its own tracks.

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