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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

NASA Names Gusev Crater Hills After Apollo 1 Crew

NASA Headquarters issued a press release late yesterday announcing that the agency is memorializing the Apollo 1 crew -- Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee -- by naming the hills surrounding the first Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's landing site after the three astronauts.

Spirit is "In Recovery"

Spirit stopped transmitting good data last Wednesday, but never went silent. It continued communicating with the MER team and returning good information with which the team is now working.

Mars Rover Spirit Upgraded from "Critical" to "Serious"

The specially formed Anomaly Team working overnight to unravel the mystery of what happened last Wednesday that caused the rover’s computer to fall into a reboot loop and stop functioning properly – had by this morning come up with a working hypothesis.

Second Mars Rover Opportunity Fast Approaching Mars

The second Mars Exploration Rover -- Opportunity -- Spirit's identical twin -- is approaching the atmosphere of Mars and is expected to land on the Red Planet tonight around 9:06 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Spirit Ventures Out to First Target

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 Extends Arm and Takes First Close-Up Images of Martian Soil

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 Set to Roll Off Lander Thursday

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.

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