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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.

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.

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.

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.

Danes on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • July 17, 2008

I was delighted to receive an email from Morten Bo Madsen, who I knew from the Mars Exploration Rover mission as "that Danish magnet guy," the fellow responsible for the magnet experiments on nearly every American Mars mission. The magnets were originally designed to study the properties of airborne Martian dust, which would help determine its composition.

Some beautiful video from the Spirit and Opportunity landing sites

Emily Lakdawalla • May 12, 2008

A majority of the people who work in planetary geology are usually associated with one or maybe two missions, doing all their research on the results from one instrument on one mission. But there are a few people whose expertise cuts across many space missions, and an even smaller number of people who seem to work on almost everything. Randy Kirk is one of those people.

What's up in the solar system for the week of May 12

Emily Lakdawalla • May 12, 2008

It's time to check in on what's going on with our trusty robots around the solar system.

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