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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Overcomes Setbacks and Waits for Extraction Orders, Opportunity Takes a Magical Meteorite Tour

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/10/31 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rover mission logged another textbook-rewriting month in October 2009 with more discoveries of geologic gems, new robot achievements balanced with equal amounts of challenges and frustrations overcome, topped off with special honors.

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Opportunity's world of dunes and rock

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/16 01:28 CDT

Opportunity's been making tracks lately, with brief stops to check out a couple of meteorites. I thought this view of its surroundings on sol 2,034 (a couple of days ago) was neat.

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It would appear that Opportunity has stumbled upon another meteorite

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/02 12:58 CDT

I wonder if this came from the same original body as Block Island, or if Meridiani is the kind of slowly deflating landscape that accumulates meteorites at its surface, like the ANSMET meteorite hunting spots in Antarctica?

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Embedded Spirit Waits Exit Approval, Opportunity Celebrates New Mars Year with New Record

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/09/30 12:00 CDT

From notable achievements and new discoveries to trials and tribulations and harbingers of hope, the Mars Exploration Rovers seemed to experience the gamut on the Red Planet this September, their 69th month on an expedition that originally set out back in 2004 for a three-month tour.

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Opportunity on the move

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/29 11:49 CDT

Opportunity rover is driving, driving, driving. It departed the meteorite named Block Island on sol 2,004 and has routinely clocked 70 meters per driving day (with drives every other day).

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Opportunity's highway, and a tour of Block Island

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/15 12:35 CDT

Just a cool image to start the morning: after a 70-meter drive yesterday, Opportunity's following not one but two sets of its own tracks.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Celebrates 3 Martian Years, Opportunity Finds Blockbuster in Block Island

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/08/31 12:00 CDT | 1 comment

The Mars Exploration Rovers hunkered down in place in August and delivered more mission "gold" as they achieved new milestones and uncovered more scientific gems, not the least of which was a blockbuster of a meteorite. But August proved to be a stormy month, uniquely challenging and one that many on the Mars Exploration Team will never forget.

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New image of Opportunity on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/14 11:06 CDT

I really can't explain why it didn't occur to me to search for the rover in the image of Victoria crater released by the HiRISE team on Wednesday.

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Mars eye candy: New oblique view of Victoria crater

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/12 12:59 CDT

Today the HiRISE team released a lovely new view of Victoria crater, taken nearly a year after the Opportunity rover departed it.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Works as Team Tests Exit Moves, Opportunity Roves to Block Island

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/07/31 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers maintained a busy schedule in July: Spirit worked day and night doing whatever it could to make use of its abundant energy; Opportunity effectively treated its “hot” right front wheel and got back to making some consecutive long drives toward the still distant Endeavour Crater.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Embedded in Paydirt, Opportunity Roving on 'Hot' Wheel

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/06/30 12:00 CDT

It's been a relatively quiet but scientifically significant month on the Red Planet for the Mars Exploration Rovers. While Opportunity continued its long journey to Endeavour Crater, forced to take it slower and make longer stops to rest its 'hot' front wheel, Spirit, seemingly just biding its time embedded in a sand pit it slipped into in April, turned up one of the most intriguing discoveries on the mission to date.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Sand Snared and Dusted, Opportunity Rests and Roves

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/05/31 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers hit some rough patches in May as Spirit sat stuck in a sand patch all month and Opportunity had to stop again to rest its right front wheel but with a little help from Mars, the intrepid, twin robot field geologists cruised through the summer solstice with the energy and invincibility of a couple of teenage robots.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Endures Reboots and Amnesia, Opportunity Races Forward

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/04/30 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers challenged their ground crews with an April full of high drama, a little suspense, and a lot of energy. While Spirit lived through a kind of robot soap opera, complete with bewildering reboots and bouts of amnesia, Opportunity roved forward and back into the fast lane on a restored front wheel, slowing down for a brief visit to a series of small, intriguing craters and an unplanned close encounter with a pesky little purgatoid.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Breaks Rove Record, Opportunity Sees Endeavour's Distant Rim

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/03/31 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers logged a memorable March, with Spirit finally making some serious tracks and setting a new driving record for a five-wheeled rover, and Opportunity getting a first glimpse on the distant horizon of its next big attraction, Endeavour Crater as it crossed a geologic boundary into a new field of "blueberries."

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What are the rovers up to?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/03/05 02:15 CST

As usual, troubled Spirit's progress sometimes amounts to only centimeters, while golden child Opportunity has already clocked four kilometers on its trek toward Endeavour.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Gains A little Power, Opportunity Loses a Little Steam

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/02/28 11:00 CST

Despite some struggles with terrain and technology, the Mars Exploration Rovers moved their missions forward in February, as Spirit and Opportunity pressed on toward their next major Martian attractions.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit and Opportunity Begin Sixth Year of Exploration

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/01/31 11:00 CST

The Mars Exploration Rover mission crossed the finish line of another major milestone this month, marking its fifth anniversary of exploring the Red Planet. As team members celebrated and shared stories in events all around Los Angeles, Spirit and Opportunity kept on roving, bucking up under the inevitable pains of growing older. They're heading now for their next major destinations.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Five Years of Living Vicariously on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/24 10:33 CST

Next in The Planetary Society's 365 Days of Astronomy doubleheader is Planetary Society President Jim Bell, whose show, airing today, is on "Five Years of Living Vicariously on Mars."

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What are the rovers up to?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/21 06:48 CST

Spirit's been getting some nice views of the spot it spent all of 2008 in, "Home Plate north." Meanwhile, Opportunity is motoring along.

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Some events for the 5th anniversary of Spirit and Opportunity's landing on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/14 05:49 CST

Tonight at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena, Jim Bell and Bill Nye will be celebrating the 5th anniversary of the landing of the rovers; Jim will be showing lots of pretty 3D pictures.

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