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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Homes in on Winter Site as Opportunity Examines Victoria's Ring

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/10/31 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) logged another major milestone in October as they completed a second Martian year of field geology and now may rove on through 2009.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Slides Across Home Plate as Opportunity Digs in at Victoria Crater

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/09/30 12:00 CDT

It might not be the stuff of Broadway musicals, but the Sun and did "come out tomorrow" on Mars. Just eight weeks after dust from severe storms darkened the Martian skies and threatened their solar-powered lives, the Mars Exploration Rovers finished dusting off as much as possible and took off on their long-anticipated expeditions this month, with Spirit roving onto an old volcanic formation called Home Plate and Opportunity cruising into Victoria Crater.

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Skies slowly lightening for Spirit and Opportunity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/09/07 05:27 CDT

I just received another batch of "tau" images from rover camera lead Jim Bell to add to my visualizations of the rovers' dark skies. These pictures provide a direct measurement of the opacity of the atmosphere between the rovers and the Sun.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit and Opportunity Shake Some Dust, Assess Storm Damage, and Return to Exploring

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/08/31 12:00 CDT

With dust from the summer's storms floating down on and all around them, the Mars Exploration Rovers returned to their exploration agendas this month, picking up right where they left off in July when winds kicked the soils up into the southern hemisphere and forced them to hunker down and conserve power.

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Dust storm update: A rover's-eye-view

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/08/29 05:06 CDT

I haven't written an update on the dust storm at Mars recently for two reasons. For one, the rovers are out of immediate danger, so it wasn't as urgent. The other reason is that Jim Bell wanted Cornell to issue a press release with updated versions of the images and animations I've been putting together from the rovers' "tau" images.

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A little good news on the rovers

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/08/08 10:56 CDT

The skies aren't quite as dark as they have been, for both Spirit and Opportunity. In fact, Spirit has enough power now to be doing a little work with its robotic arm.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity and Spirit Brave Global Dust Storm

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/07/31 12:00 CDT

It was to be a Martian summer to remember. Just one month ago, the Mars Exploration Rovers were set to embark on long-awaited adventures. At Meridiani Planum, Opportunity was preparing for its grand entrance into the magnificent Victoria Crater and on the other side of the planet Spirit was finally going to explore the top of Home Plate, an old, intriguing volcanic formation in the Gusev Crater area. Then a series of dust storms hit suddenly, it was a Martian summer to remember alright, but for far different, windswept reasons.

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High tau for Spirit and Opportunity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/07/30 12:26 CDT

Over the weekend I fiddled with the "tau" images that Mars Exploration Rover Pancam lead Jim Bell gave me, and I produced a couple of different ways to visualize the darkness of the rovers' skies.

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Mars Exploration Rovers update: Spirit and Opportunity are both still talking to Earth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/07/23 05:04 CDT

Both Spirit and Opportunity are still suffering under incredibly dark skies, but, amazingly, they are both "power-positive," meaning that they are managing to produce enough power from the limited amount of sunlight to keep the batteries fully charged.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Detours in Silica Valley, Opportunity Returns to Duck Bay to Enter Victoria

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/06/30 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) spent the month of June finishing work and clearing their agendas at their respective locales at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum in preparation for highly anticipated new assignments in July.

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Spirit gets brushed off

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/06/19 08:59 CDT

There was great news last night from Mars Exploration Rover mission operations: Spirit seems to have enjoyed another "cleaning event."

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Finds "Explosive" Evidence of Past Water, Opportunity Revs Up, Revisits Cape of Good Hope

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/05/31 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers sent home field reports this past month -- some 1,200 days into their missions -- that drew gasps of amazement from both the science and engineering teams.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Finds Past Water at Home, Opportunity Takes in Tierra del Fuego

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/04/30 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) traveled to new targets and made discoveries ranging from the magnificent to the mundane in April, four fast weeks that essentially led both of the twin robot field geologists to the next phase of their explorations.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Homes in on Mitcheltree Ridge, Opportunity Crosses Valley Without Peril

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/03/31 12:00 CDT

It's been business as usual on the Red Planet this month as the Mars Exploration Rovers investigated new areas on their ever-moving missions to explore Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum. Both Spirit and Opportunity chalked up yet another productive month of field geology as they roved onward in their fourth year on location, checking out more of the local environs some 149,597,900 kilometers (93 million miles) away on Earthlings' favored other planet.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Gets Back Home (To Where It Once Belonged), Opportunity Completes 10K at Victoria's Rim

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/02/28 11:00 CST

Dust storms are beginning to whirl around Mars as spring blooms in the southern hemisphere of the planet and along the equator where the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) are roving into their fourth year with a second banner month of exploration.

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New Horizons update and a website roundup

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/02/03 07:33 CST

I've just posted a very detailed timeline of New Horizons' encounter with Jupiter -- take a look!

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Survives Dust Storm and Studies Troll, Opportunity "Sails" from Bay of Toil to Cape Desire

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/01/31 11:00 CST

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) celebrated their 3rd anniversary this month and are now roving into their fourth year of exploration on the Red Planet.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit and Opportunity Smarten Up for Year 4 on Mars

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2006/12/31 11:00 CST

Defying all the odds, the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) are wrapping up 2006 in new locations and roving into their fourth Earth year of exploring the Red Planet. Spirit is slated to celebrate the milestone on January 3, 2007 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), with Opportunity marking the milestone just 3 weeks later, on January 24, 2007.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Moves to New Targets, Opportunity "Sails On" Around Victoria's Rim

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2006/11/30 11:00 CST

With both a superior conjunction and a long, Martian winter behind them, the Mars Exploration Rovers picked up the pace in November and drove on to new locations and research.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: New Milestones Set as Spirit Celebrates 1000 Sols, Opportunity Digs Victoria with a Little Help from a Friend

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2006/10/30 11:00 CST

The Mars Exploration Rovers managed to log another couple of significant milestones this month even as they worked in place, on autopilot, for the last two weeks during superior conjunction, the period that occurs every 2 years when Earth and Mars orbit into positions on opposite sides of the Sun, obscured from each other. With the conjunction now over, the rovers are slated to be back in command operation by tomorrow, All Hallow's Eve or, more popularly, Halloween.

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