Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
Spirit ventured out yesterday, driving nearly 10 feet (about 3 meters) to its first target -- a football-sized rock that scientists have dubbed Adirondack. Meanwhile, Spirit's twin, Opportunity, successfully completed its first trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) in four months.
Spirit has extended her robotic arm for the first time to examine a patch of fine-grained Martian soil, and joined forces with the European Space Agency's Mars Express to successfully conduct the first-ever, international, coordinated observation of the planet's atmosphere.
Spirit gets 6 wheels on soil. For some of the team members, this was the real landing.
Spirit is ready to roll.
As Earthlings slept last night, Spirit completed the first part of a three-part maneuver that will take her down the ramp and onto the Martian surface early Thursday morning Earth time.
As Spirit slept soundly after another near-perfect day of picture taking, science gathering, and data relays from Mars, NASA released the first color 360-degree panorama postcard it sent home.
Spirit is up -- standing at full height on all six wheels -- and is ready to roll off the lander heading west by northwest, probably sometime early Thursday morning Earth time, according to the latest plan.
Spirit continues to return
If a Hollywood screenwriter had crafted the scenes for the last few days of the Spirit Mission Team at JPL as they really happened -- success after success, triumphant image after triumph he or she would be out of a job.
With additional data due later today and early tomorrow morning, the mission team is hoping to receive and piece together the first color picture perfect panoramic postcard -- from the PanCam, a high resolution stereo vision camera -- for the briefing tomorrow.
Spirit -- NASA's first Mars Exploration Rover -- survived the 'six minutes of terror' entering and descending through the atmosphere to land safely -- and upright -- in Gusev Crater on the Red Planet. Just two hours after the confirmation signal of the landing, the first engineering data and images began streaming into the MER Mission Control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where Spirit and her twin, Opportunity were built.
Spirit spent a quiet, cold night in Gusev Crater, and woke up to return streams of new data, including more black and white 'postcards' from Mars.
Spirit – the first of NASA's two robot geologists en route to the red Planet -- is “in “excellent” health, NASA and JPL scientists reported at a news briefing at JPL this afternoon, and the countdown to touch down on the Red Planet has begun.
Linda Morabito Kelly began working at Jet Propulsion Laboratories while still a student at the University of Southern California. In 1974, she accepted a fulltime position as an engineer in the Satellite Ephemeris Development and Orbit Determination section JPL.
Charles Kohlhase served as Mission Design Manager for Voyager from 1974 to 1989. He brought more than a decade's worth of experience working on the Mariner and Viking missions to the position.
Bruce C. Murray served as the only geologist on the team planning the Grand Tour, which was cancelled by NASA in 1972, but which led to Voyager the same year. He later became the Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a position he held from 1976 to 1982, the early glory years of the mission.
Harris 'Bud' Schurmeier served as the first Project Manager for the Voyager mission. In 1976, just before the twin spacecraft launched, he became Assistant Lab Director at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
Edward C. Stone, an internationally renowned physicist, signed on as Project Scientist of the Voyager mission in 1972, responsible for coordinating the efforts of 11 teams of researchers.
Jurrie van der Woude worked for 25 years in the Jet Propulsion's Laboratory's Public Affairs Office as Image Coordinator. It was Jurrie who, working closely with the Voyager imaging team, chose the best images to release to the press.