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Zero Dollars for 2016: Two Stalwart Planetary Missions Face a Troubling Future

Casey Dreier • October 19, 2015

In its 2016 budget request, the White House inexplicably proposed to end two active, scientifically productive planetary missions: the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Rocks on Ancient Water During Walkabout

A.J.S. Rayl • October 02, 2015

Opportunity continued her walkabout around Marathon Valley in September and sent home more evidence of significant water alteration and, perhaps, an ancient environment inviting enough for the emergence of life.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs Marathon Valley Walkabout

A.J.S. Rayl • September 03, 2015

Opportunity drove farther into Marathon Valley in August, dug into what appears to be a water-altered rock, and took a lot of picture postcards in what is turning out to be a distinctively different site from any that the mission has found since the robot field geologist landed in 2004.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 4119 - August 26, 2015

Larry Crumpler • August 26, 2015

Opportunity is moving down into a large valley that cuts through the rim of Endeavour crater, into some interesting scenery.

What's up in solar system exploration: August 2015 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • August 10, 2015

I'm back from two weeks' vacation, so it's time to catch up on the status of all our intrepid planetary missions, from Akatsuki to the Voyagers and hitting the Moon, Mars, asteroids, comets, and Saturn in between.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Enters Marathon Valley, Begins Walkabout

A.J.S. Rayl • August 03, 2015

Nearly seven Earth years after Opportunity set its sites on Endeavour Crater, the rover cruised into Marathon Valley, the once-but-a-dream destination.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 4060 - June 26, 2015

Larry Crumpler • July 29, 2015

Larry Crumpler gives an update on the Opportunity rover's activities in Spirit of St. Louis crater.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Phones Home after Conjunction Healthy, Ready to Rove

A.J.S. Rayl • July 02, 2015

After three weeks of being in a communications blackout on the other side of the Sun during the Earth-Mars solar conjunction, Opportunity phoned home, reporting that she is healthy and ready to continue her mission.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 4039 - June 4, 2015

Larry Crumpler • June 12, 2015

Larry Crumpler gives an update on the Opportunity rover and plans for its upcoming journey after solar conjunction.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Tours Spirit of St. Louis Crater

A.J.S. Rayl • June 03, 2015

Opportunity spent a mostly merry month of May on Mars touring Spirit of St. Louis Crater, stopping at science targets named in honor of Charles Lindbergh and the incredible flight he took 88 years ago.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Logs Sol 4000, Digs Spirit of St. Louis Crater

A.J.S. Rayl • May 05, 2015

After investigating some flat, light and dark toned rocks around Spirit of St. Louis Crater in April, Opportunity chalked up another milestone achievement – the 4000th sol or Martian day of surface operations.

Mars Exploration Rovers Special Update: MERathon Celebrates Opportunity's Marathon

A.J.S. Rayl • May 01, 2015

MER mission ops team members joined other engineers and scientists, some who previously worked on the MER mission, to take on the challenge of a relay marathon to celebrate Opportunity's milestone achievement.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3978 - April 3, 2015

Larry Crumpler • April 09, 2015

Larry Crumpler gives an update on Opportunity's exploration of Mars as it approaches the entrance to Marathon Valley.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finishes First Marathon on Another Planet and Roves On

A.J.S. Rayl • April 02, 2015

On March 24, 2015, after spending several weeks investigating some new rock types along the western rim of Endeavour Crater, Opportunity roved past 42.2 kilometers (26.2 miles) and put the first off-Earth marathon in her rear view mirror, driving the Mars Exploration Rovers mission back into the space history books.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3971 - March 26, 2015

Larry Crumpler • March 28, 2015

Opportunity reaches a marathon milestone—in more ways than one. Larry Crumpler reports on the current status of the seemingly unstoppable Mars rover.

Is the Opportunity Rover a Mission 'Whose Time Has Passed'?

Casey Dreier • March 15, 2015

The NASA Administrator declared that the Opportunity rover is a mission 'whose time has passed' and will be defunded next year. Will Congress act to save it?

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Discovers New Rock Type, Updates Flight Software

A.J.S. Rayl • March 05, 2015

From the discovery of a new rock type to a successful flight software upload that should enable the robot field geologist to regain her long-term, flash memory, Opportunity and her team delivered what turned out to be a hugely productive and memorable 133rd month on the Red Planet.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Completes 11th Year of Surface Operations!

A.J.S. Rayl • February 03, 2015

On January 24th, something wonderful happened on Mars. Opportunity completed her 11th year of exploring the surface of the Red Planet! The veteran rover couldn't exactly go to Disneyland to celebrate this amazing achievement, so she did what she loves to do – roved on.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3902 - January 15, 2015

Larry Crumpler • January 22, 2015

Larry Crumpler gives an update on the status of Opportunity's traverse toward Marathon Valley.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Closes in on 11th Anniversary and We Look Back on 2014

A.J.S. Rayl • January 07, 2015

With a wonder year of discoveries, historic feats, and bummers in the rear view mirror – and plenty of mettle to continue exploring – Opportunity ended 2014 quietly working in a temporary back-up mode, as her colleagues on Earth ramped up for the mission's marathon adventure to come in 2015.

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