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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs Cape York, Roves to New Milestone

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/07/04 01:57 CDT | 3 comments

Even robots deserve a break once in a while, and when the Mars Odyssey orbiter went into safe mode in June, Opportunity got the chance to hang out and leisurely take in her surroundings at the Red Planet, while the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission downshifted into lower gear.

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Three Thousand Sols

Posted by Stuart Atkinson on 2012/07/02 11:18 CDT

Earlier today, unnoticed by the vast majority of the world, Opportunity reached and then silently passed a major milestone in her great adventure on Mars. At just before 3am, UK time, Opportunity began her 3000th sol, or martian day, on Mars.

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Notes from a Red Planet: Ray Bradbury

Posted by Scott Maxwell on 2012/06/06 11:49 CDT | 2 comments

Mars rover driver Scott Maxwell relates a story of how he handed Ray Bradbury an opportunity to drive on Mars.

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Oppy close to the edge…

Posted by Stuart Atkinson on 2012/06/05 10:00 CDT

Since you last visited, Opportunity has continued to drive downhill – well, what passes for ‘downhill’ on Cape York! – and is now not far at all from the northern edge of the Cape. From where she is now she sees the Meridiani desert stretching away to the north and west, the eastern hills on her right, and the Cape itself behind her. And around her? lots and lots of Homestake-like gypsum veins.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Departs Winter Site for Field of Veins

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/06/02 05:43 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity strolled out of her winter haven this May to continue the expedition around Endeavour Crater, roving into yet another Martian spring.

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Rovers in the desert

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/05/14 03:02 CDT | 5 comments

I took a field trip to watch scientists and engineers play in the sand with Mars rover models, and got a bonus tour of some evidence for the "Snowball Earth" hypothesis.

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Opportunity is a ROVER again!

Posted by Stuart Atkinson on 2012/05/14 12:42 CDT | 2 comments

After driving off Greeley Haven – where she stood patiently for 19 long weeks – Opportunity is now driving again. Not just turning, not just bumping, but driving.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins to Wrap Winter Science, Mission Celebrates Month 100

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/05/03 10:06 CDT

As winter began to retreat in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, Opportunity was commanded to finish up her science assignments in April in preparation for leaving its refuge, and the Mars Exploration Rover mission rolled through its 100th month of exploration.

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An update on Opportunity, and a plea for some volunteer desktop publishing help

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/03 05:00 CDT | 2 comments

A. J. S. Rayl has just posted her monthly update on the goings-on at Meridiani planum, noting that the update recaps the 99th month of the Mars Exploration Rover mission. There's a lot of detail on how the radio-tracking campaign is going. While she's not driving, Opportunity's acting like a lander, with radio antennas on Earth performing Doppler tracking to allow very fine measurement of Mars' orbital motion.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Gets Energy Boost and Works Through Depths of Winter

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/03/31 05:40 CDT

March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb at Meridiani Planum, Mars: Opportunity felt the cold wind on her solar panels, then "settled" in a little more, working through the depths of its fifth Martian winter, as the team honored one of its own up there, and the Mars Exploration Rover mission logged month number 99 of exploration.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Turns On, Tunes In, and Drops Panoramic Postcard to Earth

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/02/29 10:24 CST

There's no hail or snow or sleet, though it is the depth of winter at Meridiani Planum and a cold unimaginable to us has gripped the landscape.

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Pretty picture: A sunset postcard and a special shadow from Opportunity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/21 04:31 CST

It took Don Davis many hours of meticulous labor to assemble this beautiful postcard from Mars.

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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 comments

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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