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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."

Spirit puts the pedal to the metal

Emily Lakdawalla • March 24, 2009

Way to go, Spirit! The last two drives for the five-wheeled rover have taken it a total of about 40 meters west, traveling around the north edge of Home Plate. If I'm not mistaken, that's more than Spirit has driven in the last 400 sols combined.

What are the rovers up to?

Emily Lakdawalla • March 05, 2009

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.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • February 28, 2009

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.

Spirit update: It keeps going

Emily Lakdawalla • February 04, 2009

There have been a couple more releases from JPL in recent days updating the slightly worrisome announcement about Spirit that came out on January 28.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • January 31, 2009

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.

Spirit's not behaving normally -- sometimes

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2009

Rather than try to interpret what's going on, I'm just going to repost in full a "rover mission status report" (always an ominous subject heading) I just received from the JPL media relations office. I'll post updates when any are available.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 24, 2009

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."

What are the rovers up to?

Emily Lakdawalla • January 21, 2009

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

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 14, 2009

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.

Spirit moved!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 07, 2009

Hallelujah! For the first time in almost an Earth year, amateur mars mapper Eduardo Tesheiner is able to scratch a tiny little line on his map of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's peregrinations across Gusev Crater.

I am totally hooked on Scott Maxwell's new Mars Exploration Rover blog

Emily Lakdawalla • January 06, 2009

Scott Maxwell is one of those many guys (and gals) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who rarely gets his name in the news but who is absolutely indispensable to the success of a space mission. I don't know what his official title is, but whatever it is, it's not as good as the colloquial name given to his position: Rover Driver.

Five Years of Spirit on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • January 02, 2009

On January 3, 2004, the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit landed on Mars, and I was with the science team at JPL when it happened! I can't believe it's been five years since the successful landing.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: As Spirit and Opportunity Rove On, We Look Back on 2008

A.J.S. Rayl • December 31, 2008

As 2008 fades to the pages of history, Spirit and Opportunity are closing in on the end of their fifth year of exploration on the Red Planet and moving the Mars Exploration Rover mission forward into a new year of bold scientific objectives.

Another longevity milestone for Spirit and Opportunity

Emily Lakdawalla • December 29, 2008

We're getting close to the fifth anniversary of the landings of Spirit and Opportunity, but was we approach that milestone, we're passing another. I've been told that as of yesterday, Spirit and Opportunity have operated on Mars for a combined length of time that is longer than the combined number of sols that the twin Viking landers operated.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Recuperates from Dust Storm, Opportunity Hits on Santorini

A.J.S. Rayl • November 30, 2008

The Mars Exploration Rovers are nearing the end of their fifth year of exploring the Red Planet in dramatically different ways.

Spirit's still there

Emily Lakdawalla • November 13, 2008

I am greatly relieved to report that Spirit did talk to Earth as ordered today, indicating that the rover's power situation did not get so bad that a "low power fault" was triggered. The rover's still following instructions, and is still with us, though the power situation is still critical.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Phones Home After Life-Threatening Dust Storm

A.J.S. Rayl • November 13, 2008

After taking a "direct hit" from one of Mars' notorious dust storms last weekend, Spirit phoned home today at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, exactly like its ground team had asked it to do and members of the rover team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) cheered. "She's talking!"

High dust levels are making life tough for Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2008

There was a worrying update posted on the JPL website for Spirit today: an early-season dust storm has darkened its skies enough that its solar panels produced only 89 watt-hours of power yesterday, sol 1,725. Neither rover has ever, ever seen power production levels that low, not even during last year's massive dust storm.

Opportunity and Spirit updates: Both are now driving

Emily Lakdawalla • October 31, 2008

Another day, another drive: on sols 1,693 and 1,695 the Opportunity rover conducted two more lengthy drives to the south, totaling almost 200 meters. On the other side of the planet, Spirit is FINALLY in motion again.

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