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Encouraging motion on Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2009

It really looks like the second attempt at driving Spirit out of the trap has had the hoped-for result: some forward progress (maybe about a centimeter), and no evidence for further downward sinking.

Results of the first "Free Spirit" extrication drive, sol 2088: not much, as expected

Emily Lakdawalla • November 17, 2009

Even though all of us rover fans know that Spirit is really, really stuck, I think I'm not the only one who was secretly hoping that today's images downlinked from Spirit would show that the rover had magically popped out of the ground overnight. Of course, she didn't.

Highlights from today's Spirit press briefing

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2009

Since A. J. S. Rayl was also listening in on today's press briefing about the efforts to extricate Spirit from her predicament at Troy, I'll just hit the high points and send you over to her story when she has posted it.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Begins Extraction Process

A.J.S. Rayl • November 12, 2009

On Monday, November 16, 2009, Mars Exploration Rover Spirit will begin the much-anticipated, weeks-long process of extricating itself from a patch of powdery soil that stopped it in its tracks six months ago. It will begin by driving forward to the north, following its tracks out, even though its right front wheel is broken and immobilized.

She moves! "First drive sequence in 145 sols" for Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2009

It's been an awful long time since we've seen one of these from Spirit: an animation of four Navcam frames documenting motion!

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

A.J.S. Rayl • October 31, 2009

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.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • September 30, 2009

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.

Beautiful 3D animation of Spirit's environs in Gusev Crater

Emily Lakdawalla • September 23, 2009

Doug Ellison has done it again: he's created a spectacular overflight of Gusev crater based upon digital elevation models of the terrain produced by the United States Geological Survey from HiRISE data.

New HiRISE image of Spirit at Home Plate

Emily Lakdawalla • September 03, 2009

There's a lovely new color HiRISE image of Spirit at Home Plate. It was captured on July 16 (sol 1,968), and Spirit is firmly entrenched at Troy, on the western side of Home Plate.

Dust storm update: Skies clearing for Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • September 02, 2009

For a while, Mars was beating Spirit while she was down, throwing a dust storm at the rover where it's bogged up to its hubcaps in fluffy soil When lots of dust is lofted into the sky, the hazard is that when it comes down, it may come down on the rover and its solar panels. But it appears things on Spirit are still pretty clean.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • August 31, 2009

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.

Happy 3rd anniversary of the Spirit landing!

Emily Lakdawalla • August 26, 2009

"Third anniversary?" some of you may be asking. "Hasn't it been more like five years since Spirit landed?" Five Earth years, yes. But today is the third anniversary of the landing, measured in Mars years.

A sunset into the dust

Emily Lakdawalla • August 24, 2009

While Spirit has been stuck at Troy, it's been taking numerous opportunities to capture photos with dramatic twilight lighting. On sol 2,002 (three sols ago, or August 21), it gazed toward the setting Sun, snapping the shutter roughly once a minute.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • July 31, 2009

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.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • June 30, 2009

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.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • May 31, 2009

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.

Spirit Stuck

Mark Adler • May 12, 2009

The Spirit rover on Mars is currently stuck in a patch of loose material. After a few attempts to get free, the team has wisely decided to do further experiments on Earth instead of on Mars.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • April 30, 2009

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.

Spirit hiccup

Emily Lakdawalla • April 13, 2009

Another of those dreaded "status reports" from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory arrived in my mailbox just now.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • March 31, 2009

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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