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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.

New HiRISE image of Spirit at Home Plate

Emily Lakdawalla • September 03, 2009

There's a lovely new color HiRISE image of Spirit at Home Plate. It was captured on July 16 (sol 1,968), and Spirit is firmly entrenched at Troy, on the western side of Home Plate.

Dust storm update: Skies clearing for Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • September 02, 2009

For a while, Mars was beating Spirit while she was down, throwing a dust storm at the rover where it's bogged up to its hubcaps in fluffy soil When lots of dust is lofted into the sky, the hazard is that when it comes down, it may come down on the rover and its solar panels. But it appears things on Spirit are still pretty clean.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Celebrates 3 Martian Years, Opportunity Finds Blockbuster in Block Island

A.J.S. Rayl • August 31, 2009

The Mars Exploration Rovers hunkered down in place in August and delivered more mission "gold" as they achieved new milestones and uncovered more scientific gems, not the least of which was a blockbuster of a meteorite. But August proved to be a stormy month, uniquely challenging and one that many on the Mars Exploration Team will never forget.

Happy 3rd anniversary of the Spirit landing!

Emily Lakdawalla • August 26, 2009

"Third anniversary?" some of you may be asking. "Hasn't it been more like five years since Spirit landed?" Five Earth years, yes. But today is the third anniversary of the landing, measured in Mars years.

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