The Mars Exploration Rovers science team witnessed a bit of
an expansion down here on Earth this month, while up on the Red Planet Spirit
and Opportunity continued roving along. As Halloween nears, the twin robot
geologists have put in another solid month's worth of work, overcoming every
occasional "hiccup." At this point, as Mars' orbit brings it as
close to Earth as it will get until the summer of 2018, both Spirit and Opportunity
are moving into new territories at their respective inspection sites.
The Hayabusa mission has proven to be a bit of a tease -- they were releasing lots of images to the public as they approached asteroid Itokawa, but once they arrived, the image releases shut down entirely. There is finally a little postage stamp of an image captured by Hayabusa at "home position," only 7 kilometers from the asteroid, compared here to a picture taken from "gate position," 20 kilometers away.