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Mars Exploration Rover Mission
Other Martian Missions
Mars Topics
Moons of Mars
Deimos, Phobos

spirit NASA's twin robot geologists, the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, were launched toward Mars on June 10 and July 7, 2003, in search of answers about the history of water on Mars. Spirit successfully landed on January 3, 2004 at 8:35 p.m. Pacific Standard time. Opportunity sucessfully landed on January 24, 2004 at 9:05 p.m. PST, Saturday.

Primary among the mission's scientific goals is to search for and characterize a wide range of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity on Mars. The spacecraft are targeted to sites on opposite sides of Mars that appear to have been affected by liquid water in the past. The landing sites are at Gusev Crater, a possible former lake in a giant impact crater, and Meridiani Planum, where mineral deposits (hematite) suggest Mars had a wet past.

After the airbag-protected landing craft settle onto the surface and open, the rovers roll out to take panoramic images. These will give scientists the information they need to select promising geological targets that will tell part of the story of water in Mars' past. Then, the rovers will drive to those locations to perform on-site scientific investigations over the course of their 90-day mission.

Press Releases

11 Mar 2004Spirit Looks Down Into Crater After Reaching Rim
6 Feb 2004Healthy Spirit Cleans a Mars Rock; Opportunity Rolls
4 Feb 2004Opportunity Sees Tiny Spheres In Martian Soil
31 Jan 2004Opportunity Rolls Onto Martian Ground
27 Jan 2004Scientists Thrilled To See Layers in Mars Rocks Near Opportunity
26 Jan 2004Opportunity Sits In A Small Crater, Near A Bigger One
26 Jan 2004Opportunity Sits In A Small Crater, Near A Bigger One
25 Jan 2004First Images Of Opportunity Site Show Bizarre Landscape
20 Jan 2004NASA Mars Rover's First Soil Analysis Yields Surprises
19 Jan 2004Spirit Drives to a Rock Called `Adirondack' for Close Inspection
16 Jan 2004Spirit Flexes Its Arm to Use Microscope on Mars' Soil
15 Jan 2004Spirit Rolls All Six Wheels Onto Martian Soil
06 Jan 2004Color Picture from Spirit is Most Detailed View of Mars Ever Seen
06 Jan 2004Space Shuttle Columbia Crew Memorialized On Mars
05 Jan 2004Mars Team Energized about 'Sleepy Hollow'
04 Jan 2004Healthy Rover Shows its New Neighborhood on Mars
04 Jan 2004Spirit from Earth Lands on Mars

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