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Hangout on Air Friday, December 27 14:00 UT: Student Astronaut 10th Reunion

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/27 08:00 CST

When Spirit and Opportunity landed in 2004, I was with the science team in charge of a group of high-school students called the Red Rover Goes to Mars Student Astronauts. We're coming up on the 10th anniversary of the landings -- what have those "kids" grown up into?

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Planetary Radio: Ten Years A Roving: The Mars Exploration Rovers

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/12/24 09:18 CST

This week's show looks back over ten years of exploration by Spirit and Opportunity. Writer A.J.S. Rayl recounts the challenges encountered early in the mission, and how an outstanding team triumphed.

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Mars' chemical history: Phyllosian, Theiikian, Siderikian, oh my

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/05 01:08 CST | 4 comments

I'm returning to the deep dive into the literature that began with articles about lunar basins and then explored the geologic time scales of Earth, Moon, and Mars. Now it's time to catch up to the last decade of Mars research and learn what "phyllosian", "theiikian", and "siderikian" eras are.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Ascends Murray Ridge into Clay Mineral Grounds
Sols 3474 - 3502

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/12/03 03:13 CST | 1 comment

Although winter took hold at Endeavour Crater in November, Opportunity pressed on, climbing up Murray Ridge and driving into a clay mineral hunting ground as the Mars Exploration Rovers mission cruised another month closer to celebrating its 10th Earth year of surface operations with myriad events throughout January 2014.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3494 - November 21, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/11/22 05:39 CST | 4 comments

On sol 3485 Opportunity pulled up next to a large outcrop here on the rim of Endeavour crater. The outcrop appears to be impact breccias like those we saw a few sols ago lower down on the ridge. But the texture of the rocks is somewhat different.

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Features at both rover field sites on Mars named for Bruce Murray

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/14 11:51 CST

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced today that the geologists on both Mars rover teams -- Opportunity and Curiosity -- have named landmarks at their field sites after the late Bruce Murray.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Gets Back to the Past at Winter Site
Sols 3444 - 3473

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/11/04 11:05 CST | 1 comment

As fall began to give way to winter at Endeavour Crater, Opportunity cruised deeper into her campsite on the western side of Solander Point in October, heading for a site that may contain clay minerals and the rover's next big discovery, and the Mars Exploration Rovers mission trekked another month closer to its 10th anniversary in January 2014.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3467 - October 24, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/10/28 08:16 CDT | 1 comment

On sol 3451 Opportunity began its climb of Solander Point. This is the highest “mountain” that Opportunity has tried to climb yet.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Roves to Solander West, into Winter Campground
Sols 3415 - 3444

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/10/07 07:06 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission stepped up preparations for the coming Martian winter in September as Opportunity rounded the northern tip of Solander Point and drove into what will be her campground at Endeavour Crater for the next six months or so. It's been nearly a year in the planning. Now, from the rover's first look around, this winter could turn out to be one for the books.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3431 - September 18, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/09/18 11:27 CDT | 2 comments

On sol 3425 Opportunity "waded ashore" at Solander Point after crossing a sea of sand between here and Cape York. Cape York was an "island" remnant of the rim of Endeavour crater that Opportunity left back in May. Since then it has been driving south to the next largest and mountainous remnant of the crater rim, Solander Point.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins Science at Base of Solander
Sols 3385 - 3414

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/09/04 04:08 CDT | 1 comment

There wasn't a dull moment for the Mars Exploration Rover mission in August as Opportunity drove up to the base of the Solander Point section Endeavour Crater's eroded rim, crossed over a geological boundary between ancient eras, maneuvered through a boulder field, scooting unscathed from a near-miss with a rock that could have ended it all, and at month's end delivered her team to what looks to be another scientific gemstone on the Red Planet.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3397 - August 13, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/08/18 11:06 CDT | 1 comment

Opportunity arrived at the base of the next segment of the Endeavour crater rim and is now investigating the contact.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3385 - August 2, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/08/06 06:54 CDT

This week Opportunity finished up a quick investigation of the strange rocky terrain out here in the plains where it is approaching the next mountain rim segment of Endeavour crater, Solander Point.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Celebrates Milestones, Arrives at Solander Suburb
Sols 3355 - 3384

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/08/05 03:44 CDT | 1 comment

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission Opportunity celebrated the 10th anniversary of its launch on July 7, 2003, and then went on to complete the last leg of its 2 km trek from Cape York to Solander Point. But just before the robot field geologist pulled onto the actual base of the ridge where it will spend its sixth Martian winter, Mars lured the team off the path with some of the weirdest Martian rocks the scientists have seen yet.

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Happy 32! Happy New Mars Year!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/31 01:45 CDT | 4 comments

They're too far apart to have a party, but today Curiosity and Opportunity could have rung in the New Mars Year. Today Mars reached a solar longitude of zero degrees and the Sun crossed Mars' equator, heralding the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3378 - July 25, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/07/26 12:32 CDT

We are now only about 180 meters from the new mountain, Solander Point. We slowed down this week so that we could check out the rocks here where there is a strange hydration signature from orbital remote sensing.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3363 - July 10, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/07/18 01:41 CDT | 1 comment

Opportunity is only a couple of hundred meters out and closing fast on the next mountain. A short side trip east is in the works to check out an anomaly in the terrain.

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A new HiRISE view of Opportunity (sol 3361)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/17 06:14 CDT

The HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has snapped a lovely color photo of the rim of Endeavour crater, catching Opportunity midway between Nobby's Head and Solander Point.

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Programmable Mars Watch for $50

Posted by Ara Kourchians on 2013/07/11 06:00 CDT

Time is kept differently on Mars. This is because Mars itself rotates a little slower than Earth. This proves to be a pain when it comes to timekeeping.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3355 - July 2, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/07/08 06:04 CDT

By Sol 3325 Opportunity has driven up onto the next "island" of rock, "Sutherland Point" and "Nobbys Head." On this sol Opportunity is only about 700 m from the goal, the mountains to the south.

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