Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/15 04:38 CDT
What a difference a couple of months of driving make. Here's the sort of view of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's road ahead that I'm accustomed to, taken two months ago.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/08/31 12:00 CDT
With the Sun beginning to warm the landscape in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet and winds whipping up here and there forming dust devils that kick the powdery, rust-colored topsoil into the atmosphere, the Mars Exploration Rovers have been experiencing sure signs of a Martian spring this month.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/07/31 12:00 CDT
Winter lingers in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, but the Sun is beginning to rise higher in the sky and temperatures are slowly rising, signs the Mars Exploration Rovers are heading into spring. While Spirit continued hibernating, Opportunity took in the warmth of the Sun, captured its first dust devil, and picked up the pace in Meridiani Planum on the long journey to Endeavour Crater. Together, the rovers marked six and a half years of exploration.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/06/30 12:00 CDT
With winter still freezing the southern hemisphere of Mars, June might have been an uneventful month for your average working robot, but not the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs). In fact, from the sounds of silence to a major discovery to an injury scare, the rovers' latest trials, tribulations and achievements, have turned the last four weeks into something of an emotional roller-coaster for some members of the MER team.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/06/17 12:00 CDT
Mars Exploration Rover Spirit continued to hibernate this month, parked in place near an old volcanic formation called Home Plate. At the same time though she managed to rove back into the planetary exploration spotlight when a group of the mission scientists announced they had found -- in data from an outcrop the rover visited more than four years ago -- evidence for a past watery environment more suitable for life than any other either Spirit or Opportunity have found, a place where near-pure water existed. 1
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/05/31 12:00 CDT
The Mars Exploration Rovers made it through their fourth winter solstice in what is the coldest, most challenging Martian winter the twin robot field geologists have experienced.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/12 02:30 CDT
A good start to my day today: The New York Times' Lens Blog featured the "Martian Moment in Time" photo that Opportunity took last week in a really nice writeup. I'm so grateful, and still a little surprised, that the folks on the Mars Exploration Rover mission took this idea and ran with it!
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/04/30 12:00 CDT
The Mars Exploration Rovers' fourth Martian winter is proving to be the harshest one yet and Spirit and Opportunity are getting colder than ever before. With temperatures on the Red Planet dropping in April and the Martian winter solstice still two weeks away, the season has turned into a shivering nail-biter.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/03/31 12:00 CDT
March seems to have come in like a lamb and gone out like a lion on the Red Planet this year as the Mars Exploration Rovers trudged deeper into their fourth winter. While Opportunity finished up work at Concepcin Crater and shifted into gear back on the road to Endeavour Crater, Spirit finished up winter preparations and carried out a limited winter agenda before shifting, it appears, into hibernation mode.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/27 05:09 CDT
Just a little update here to post a Navcam panorama from Opportunity showing that the rover successfully arrived yesterday at the doublet crater she's been aiming for since she left Concepcion a couple of weeks ago.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/02/28 11:00 CST
As winter put the freeze on in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, the Mars Exploration Rovers slowed down a bit, but continued throughout February to demonstrate the mettle that made them famous: Spirit successfully drove backwards, parked in place for the season, then continued working, as Opportunity roved through rock debris on a cruise around the rim of Concepcin Crater.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/11 05:28 CST
I think a goodly proportion of you readers have already figured this out for yourselves since it was launched last March, but I didn't download and install it until last weekend, so this is new to me: Google Mars is awesome.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/01 10:37 CST
It looks like the rover team thinks Concepcion is pretty enough (in both aesthetic and a scientific senses) to be worthy of the full-color Pancam panorama treatment; color frames started arriving on Earth over the weekend.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/01/31 11:00 CST
Five and a half years after they were supposed to be history, the Mars Exploration Rovers celebrated their sixth Earth year on the Red Planet with Opportunity pulling up to a fresh, new crater on the road to Endeavour, and Spirit working on repositioning itself to settle in for the coming Martian winter, and perhaps the rest of its mission.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/29 10:59 CST
Since leaving Marquette Island on sol 2,122, Opportunity has been barreling southward on her journey toward Endeavour crater. On her horizon for the last several sols has been a very small but very fresh looking crater named Concepción.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/04 01:29 CST
While we don't have Moon bases, we do have plenty of spacecraft. Before I get into my more detailed look at the activities of the 20-odd spacecraft wandering about the solar system, I thought I'd look ahead to 2010 more generally and see what the year has in store for us.