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The Mars Exploration Rovers Update

Since 2004, original interviews, original reporting, and the only regularly published news feature documenting NASA’s first overland expedition of the Red Planet through the adventures and discoveries of Opportunity, Spirit, and the MER team, by A.J.S. Rayl. If you're new to the mission or want a list of all our resources, check out our MER mission page

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: The Final Report

A.J.S. Rayl • April 26, 2019 • 6

It’s a fall afternoon at Endeavour Crater. The summer winds finally lost their energy and the dust storm season is over. But there are no more signals coming from Earth. No more comm sessions with the orbiters. Nothing like it used to be.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update Special Report: NASA Declares Opportunity and MER Mission “Complete”

A.J.S. Rayl • February 14, 2019 • 4

At around 8 pm February 12, 2019, Pacific Standard Time (PST), the final commands were transmitted to Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rover that defied all odds.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Logs 15th Year in Silence, Team Begins ‘Hail Mary’ Efforts

A.J.S. Rayl • February 02, 2019 • 7

As a string of dust storms moved through Meridiani Planum and over Endeavour Crater in January, Opportunity silently wrapped her fifteenth year on the surface of Mars.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Still Silent, Team Still Hopeful

A.J.S. Rayl • January 06, 2019 • 2

It’s now been more than six and a half months that the longest-lived robot on another planet has been incommunicado.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Team Continues Search for Opportunity’s Signal as Windy Season Begins

A.J.S. Rayl • December 02, 2018 • 3

The longest-lived Martian explorer remained silent in November, presumably still sleeping at her site halfway down Perseverance Valley, along the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: NASA Green-Lights Team to Continue Opportunity Recovery Plan into 2019

A.J.S. Rayl • November 05, 2018 • 4

October came and went without a beep from Opportunity, silence that was still no surprise for some, but a little discouraging for other members of the rover team.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Team Initiates Plan to Recover Oppy, Orbiter Sends Postcard, Storm Ends

A.J.S. Rayl • October 04, 2018 • 1

As the global storm that wrapped the Red Planet in a cloud of dust since late June finally gave up the ghost in September, the sky continued to clear over Endeavour Crater and the Opportunity team initiated the NASA-approved two-step plan to reestablish contact with the rover.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: NASA Focuses on Recovering Opportunity as Storm Diminishes and Dust Settles

A.J.S. Rayl • September 09, 2018 • 1

The dust raising power of the storms that wrapped Mars in a cloud in June and July diminished in August. Meanwhile, on Earth, the Opportunity team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reviewed recovery plans, conducted additional simulations, and began wrapping the month with newfound reasons to believe Opportunity can emerge from her hibernation.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Dust Storm Wanes, Opportunity Sleeps, Team Prepares Recovery Strategy

A.J.S. Rayl • August 01, 2018 • 5

As Opportunity slept in Perseverance Valley under the thick cloud of dust that has blanketed the Red Planet for the last six weeks, scientists who are studying the monster storm that forced the robot field geologist into its hibernation mode are now reporting the tempest has peaked.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Sleeps as Storm Chasers Study Planet-Encircling Dust Cloud

A.J.S. Rayl • July 04, 2018 • 5

As a monster dust storm grew to encircle the Red Planet in June, Opportunity spent most of the month in the dark, presumably sleeping in a hibernation mode as the skies over Endeavour Crater became darker and darker.

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Our Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) update has recorded the journeys of the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity on the surface of Mars since their arrival in January of 2004. It is a treasure trove of information, insight, and high-quality reporting detailing every step of this unprecedented voyage of discovery.

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