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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Celebrates 8, Keeps on Rockin' into Year 9

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/01/31 10:24 CST

As Opportunity worked away on its winter science campaign, the Mars Exploration Rover mission quietly completed its eighth Earth year of exploring the surface of the Red Planet last week, and is now roving on into Year 9 of its 90-day mission.

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Dusty girl

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/23 05:32 CST

Today Opportunity sent back to Earth the last few frames of the "deck pan" self-portrait she took during the waning days of 2011. Her solar panels are very dusty, which isn't helpful. It's near winter solstice in her southern location on Mars, so the angled Sun is not providing as much power as it would in a different season.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update:Opportunity Climbs to Greeley Haven for Winter, and We Look Back at 2011

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/12/31 10:24 CST

As New Year's Eve moved from time zone to time zone across planet Earth, the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) team looked to 2012 and wrapping its eighth Earth year of exploring, while up on the Red Planet Opportunity settled into the "saddle" at Greeley Haven preparing for the onslaught of its fifth Martian winter.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Special Update: Opportunity Finds Best Evidence Yet for Liquid Water in Gypsum at Homestake

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/12/07 10:24 CST

Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has discovered gypsum and its "single most powerful piece of evidence for liquid water on Mars."

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update:Opportunity Crunches Homestake, Scouts Locales for Winter

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/11/30 10:24 CST

Opportunity roved toward the end of its eighth year of exploration on the Red Planet and chalking up yet another "exciting" textbook discovery for the Mars mission.

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Mars Exploration Family Portrait

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/23 12:26 CST | 1 comment

Jason Davis put together this neat summary of the checkered history of Mars exploration.

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Curiosity in context: Not exactly "Viking on wheels," but close

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/21 06:51 CST

As I was beginning my research for my two magazine articles on the Curiosity rover's upcoming mission to Mars, I needed to figure out for myself how exactly this gigantic, ungainly machine fit in to the context of past Martian missions.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Heads for New Discovery as Winter Blows In at Cape York

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/10/31 11:24 CDT

Opportunity roved on this month, driving alongside the rim of Endeavour Crater toward the northern end of Cape York in search of more science gold and a place to hunker down for winter.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs In at Endeavour Crater, Team Remembers 9/11

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/09/30 11:24 CDT

Since leaving the plains of Meridiani, pulling up to Endeavour Crater and checking out its first rock last month, Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has wasted no time in getting the "new mission" underway.

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The latest HiRISE view of Opportunity, on Endeavour's rim

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/24 10:19 CDT

In a now-routine act of obtaining detailed photographs of robots from Earth sitting on the surface of another planet, the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured a view of Opportunity sitting on the rim of Endeavour crater.

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Mars Exploration Rover Update: Opportunity Finds Martian Mystery at Endeavour Crater

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/09/01 11:24 CDT

More than seven and a half years after landing, Opportunity arrived at its long-anticipated destination, the rim of Endeavour Crater, and in less than three weeks found something strange enough to launch a new Martian mystery.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Arrives at Endeavour Crater, Mission Begins Anew

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/08/31 11:24 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission roves back into the exploration spotlight this month as Opportunity arrives at the rim of Endeavour Crater, a destination that wasn't even an impossible dream when the rover landed back in January 2004.

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In their own words

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/16 08:42 CDT

While doing my daily reading today I was struck by the awesomeness of two recent blog posts. Both were composed not by professional bloggers like me but by professional space explorers, one a scientist and the other an engineer.

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Wheels on Cape York!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/10 02:09 CDT

Opportunity's wheels are on a whole new different kind of rock: she has arrived at the rim of Endeavour crater, on Cape York.

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Spirit Point and Odyssey crater in sight, and new rock under Opportunity's wheels

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/07 04:26 CDT

Opportunity is at her goal. In this 3D anaglyph, taken on sol 2678 (yesterday, August 6, 2011), Opportunity's wheels are resting on strange lumpy bedrock.

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Mountains rising for Opportunity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/31 10:11 CDT

The views from Opportunity of Endeavour's near and distant rim peaks are getting ever more vertical as Opportunity approaches Cape York.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Closes in on Endeavour as Team Bids Farewell to Spirit

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/07/31 11:24 CDT

Opportunity seemed to sail with the wind behind her back toward the western rim of Endeavour Crater this month as the Mars Exploration Rover team shifted gears in preparation for a whole new adventure, taking time out only to bid a final farewell both privately and publicly to Spirit.

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Opportunity's horizon rises -- and maybe brings Cape York into view

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/21 03:12 CDT

For miles and miles of Martian terrain, Opportunity's view forward has contained a distinctive line of hills—the far rim of Endeavour crater.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Roves Back into Record Books, Spirit is Honored

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/06/30 12:00 CDT

Opportunity 'burned up' the Meridiani Plains in June as it raced toward its much-anticipated next destination and the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission cruised into the 90th month of what was originally to have been a 90-day tour.

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In Memory of Spirit, and Why Cuteness Matters

Posted by Melissa Rice on 2011/06/15 02:21 CDT

An analysis of "cuteness," and why it matters when talking about science.

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