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

Mat Kaplan • December 24, 2013

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • December 05, 2013

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.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Ascends Murray Ridge into Clay Mineral Grounds

A.J.S. Rayl • December 03, 2013

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.

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

Larry Crumpler • November 22, 2013

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 14, 2013

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.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Gets Back to the Past at Winter Site

A.J.S. Rayl • November 04, 2013

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.

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

Larry Crumpler • October 28, 2013

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

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Roves to Solander West, into Winter Campground

A.J.S. Rayl • October 07, 2013

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.

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

Larry Crumpler • September 18, 2013

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.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins Science at Base of Solander

A.J.S. Rayl • September 04, 2013

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.

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

Larry Crumpler • August 18, 2013

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

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

Larry Crumpler • August 06, 2013

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.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Celebrates Milestones, Arrives at Solander Suburb

A.J.S. Rayl • August 05, 2013

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.

Happy 32! Happy New Mars Year!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 31, 2013

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.

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

Larry Crumpler • July 26, 2013

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.

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

Larry Crumpler • July 18, 2013

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.

A new HiRISE view of Opportunity (sol 3361)

Emily Lakdawalla • July 17, 2013

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.

Programmable Mars Watch for $50

Ara Kourchians • July 11, 2013

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.

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

Larry Crumpler • July 08, 2013

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.

Mars Exploration Rovers Mission Update: Opportunity Continues Sprint to Solander Point

A.J.S. Rayl • July 04, 2013

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission celebrated its 10th anniversary of leaving Earth in June, as Opportunity continued the sprint to its next winter haven at Endeavour Crater.

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