NASA has selected eight proposals to provide instrumentation and associated science investigations for the mobile Mars Science Laboratory rover, scheduled for launch in 2009. Proposals selected today were submitted to NASA in response to an announcement of opportunity released in April.
Scientists have identified a water-signature mineral called goethite in bedrock that the NASA's Mars rover Spirit examined in the "Columbia Hills," one of the mission's surest indicators yet for a wet history on Spirit's side of Mars.
The most dramatic findings so far from NASA's twin Mars rovers -- telltale evidence for a wet and possibly habitable environment in the arid planet's past -- passed rigorous scientific scrutiny for publication in a major research journal.
Operators of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity have determined that a proposed route eastward out of "Endurance Crater" is not passable, so the rover will backtrack to leave the crater by a southward route, perhaps by retracing its entry path.
A view of the sundial-like calibration target on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, with a bit of martian terrain in the background, is the 50,000th image from the twin rovers that have been exploring Mars since January.
NASA's Spirit and Opportunity have been exploring Mars about three times as long as originally scheduled. The more they look, the more evidence of past liquid water on Mars these robots discover. Team members reported the new findings at a news briefing today.
NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, starting its third mission extension this week after seven years of orbiting Mars, is using an innovative technique to capture pictures even sharper than most of the more than 170,000 it has already produced.
As NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers resumed reliable contact with Earth, after a period when Mars passed nearly behind the Sun, the space agency extended funding for an additional six months of rover operations, as long as they keep working.
On Jan. 24, 2004, halfway around the planet from Spirit's landing site, the airbags cushioning the Opportunity rover slammed into the surface, bounced high into the atmosphere, hit the ground again, and continued bouncing and landing and bouncing and landing before slowly rolling to a halt.
Mark Adler is a mission manager who lives in a spacecraft operations world of computer commands and logic. At times when he is speaking, it seems his mind is working so fast that his words can barely keep up. Thinking fast was essential when Adler's team rescued the rovers from death's door in a race against time to keep their batteries from failing.
At times during the Mars rover mission, the tension was palpable even as far away as NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. This was especially true about 18 months before launch, when the airbags that cushioned the landers began tearing apart during testing, and again about a year before launch, when the parachutes failed.
NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter begins working overtime today after completing a prime mission that discovered vast supplies of frozen water, ran a safety check for future astronauts, and mapped surface textures and minerals all over Mars, among other feats.
Named after 2001: A Space Odyssey, the movie that inspired a generation to believe in a future where travelers on their way to Jupiter could call loved ones from space hotels via live television links, NASA's 2001 Odyssey orbiter mission has actually brought that fantasy one step closer to reality -- via Mars.
NASA has selected a data visualization and simulation software package used by Mars rovers and landers, and a software package that can be used in aerospace and industrial flow fluid applications, as the "best of the best" software developed by the agency this year.
One of NASA's Mars rovers has sent pictures relayed by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter for the first time, demonstrating that the orbiter could serve as a communications link if needed.
Both Mars Exploration Rovers are fighters, beating the count a handful of times on Earth and on Mars. Having flown in the face of "old age" and impending demise, Spirit and Opportunity might also be able to resist the reduction of direct sunlight and Mother Nature?s minions of martian winter clouds.
Scientific findings from the NASA rover Spirit's first three months on Mars will be published Friday, marking the start of a flood of peer-reviewed discoveries in scientific journals from the continuing two-rover adventure.
NASA's Spirit rover has climbed higher into rocky hills on Mars, and its twin, Opportunity, has descended deeper into a crater, but both rovers, for the time being, are operating with some restrictions while team members diagnose unexpected behavior.
With Spirit?s right front wheel showing signs of age, engineers are finding creative ways to keep the rover moving. They?re inventing a whole new rule book, such as driving forward in reverse and turning the wheels to go straight.
As Spirit comes up on its 3,000-meter check-up, the rover may need a lube job to rejuvenate one of its wheels. Even so, the spacecraft's designers are thrilled that the rover has far exceeded its original warranty.
As winter approaches on Mars, NASA's Opportunity rover continues to inch deeper into the stadium-sized crater dubbed "Endurance." On the other side of the planet, the Spirit rover found an intriguing patch of rock outcrop while preparing to climb up the "Columbia Hills" backward. This unusual approach to driving is part of a creative plan to accommodate Spirit's aging front wheel.
At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., James K. Erickson becomes project manager for the Mars Exploration Rover Project today as his predecessor, Richard A. Cook, switches to the development of an even more capable Mars rover for launch in 2009.
Steep Grade Ahead: Can the Rover Make It? - Jun 10, 2004
At the edge of Endurance Crater, Opportunity was poised for the biggest challenge of its short existence: a drive down into Endurance Crater. Due to extensive testing, engineers became optimistic that the rover could make it in safely, on its way to determine more about the history of water on Mars.
NASA's Mars Opportunity rover began its latest adventure today inside the martian crater informally called Endurance. Opportunity will roll in with all six wheels, then back out to the rim to check traction by looking at its own track marks.
More than a month into bonus time after a successful primary mission on Mars, NASA's Spirit rover has sighted possibly layered rock in hills just ahead, while twin Opportunity has extended its arm to pockmarked stones on a crater rim to gather clues of a watery past.
Less than two weeks after Spirit landed on Mars, rover engineers and scientists were already planning Spirit's itinerary on the surface. "Go To That Crater And Turn Right" read the headline of a January 13 press release. Needless to say, generically referring to features as "that crater," "this rock," or "these hills" could quickly become confusing.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has begun sampling rocks blasted out from a stadium-sized impact crater the rover is circling, and the very first one may extend our understanding about the region's wet past.
Scientists and engineers celebrated when they saw the first pictures NASA's Opportunity sent from the rim of a stadium-sized crater that the rover reached after a six-week trek across martian flatlands.
NASA's Opportunity rover has examined an odd volcanic rock on the plains of Mars' Meridiani Planum region with a composition unlike anything seen on Mars before, but scientists have found similarities to meteorites that fell to Earth.
NASA's Spirit will begin trekking toward hills on its eastern horizon in the next few days, entering a new phase of the rover's exploration of Mars just before its prime three-month mission ends and its extended mission begins, rover team members said today.
A major ingredient in small mineral spheres analyzed by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity furthers understanding of past water at Opportunity's landing site and points to a way of determining whether the vast plains surrounding the site also have a wet history.
NASA's Spirit has found hints of a water history in a rock at Mars' Gusev Crater, but it is a very different type of rock than those in which NASA's Opportunity found clues to a wet past on the opposite side of the planet.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., is enhancing the availability of all Mars rover images for students and the public by distributing them via the Internet. The images can be viewed on the NASA Web site at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov as well as the educational Web site MarsQuest Online at http://www.marsquestonline.org/mer.
By inspecting the sides and floor of a hole it dug on Mars, NASA's Opportunity rover is finding some things it did not see beforehand, including round pebbles that are shiny and soil so fine-grained that the rover's microscope can't make out individual particles.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers are not only providing scientists a flood of information about Mars -- including new insights today about winds -- they are also adding excitement to classrooms throughout the nation.
NASA's Spirit rover has begun making some of its own driving decisions while its twin, Opportunity, is presenting scientists with decisions to make about studying small spheres embedded in bedrock, like berries in a muffin.
NASA's Opportunity rover drove about 3.5 meters (11 feet) early Thursday toward a rock outcrop in the wall of a small crater on Mars, and mission controllers plan to send it the rest of the way to the outcrop late Thursday.
NASA's Spirit rover on Mars has resumed taking pictures as engineers continue work on restoring its health. Meanwhile, Spirit's twin, Opportunity, extended its rear wheels backward to driving position last night as part of preparations to roll off its lander, possibly as early as overnight Saturday-to-Sunday.
NASA announced plans to name the landing site of the Mars Opportunity rover in honor of the Space Shuttle Challenger's final crew. The area in the vast flatland called Meridiani Planum, where Opportunity landed this weekend, will be called the Challenger Memorial Station.
NASA memorialized the Apollo 1 crew -- Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee -- by dedicating the hills surrounding the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's landing site to the astronauts. The crew of Apollo 1 perished in flash fire during a launch pad test of their Apollo spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., 37 years ago today.
A small impact crater on Mars is the new home for NASA's Opportunity rover, and a larger crater lies nearby. Scientists value such crater locations as a way to see what's beneath the surface without needing to dig.
Hours before NASA's Opportunity rover will reach Mars, engineers have found a way to communicate reliably with its twin, Spirit, and to get Spirit's computer out of a cycle of rebooting many times a day.
Some members of the flight team for NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers are preparing for this weekend's landing of the second rover, Opportunity, while others are focused on trying to restore the first rover, Spirit, to working order.
The flight team for NASA's Spirit received data from the rover in a communication session that began at 13:26 Universal Time (5:26 a.m. PST) and lasted 20 minutes at a data rate of 120 bits per second.
Ground controllers were able to send commands to the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit early Wednesday and received a simple signal acknowledging that the rover heard them, but they did not receive expected scientific and engineering data during scheduled communication passes during the rest of that martian day.
The first use of the tools on the arm of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit reveals puzzles about the soil it examined and raises anticipation about what the tool will find during its studies of a martian rock.
Today, ESA?s Mars Express orbiter flies almost directly over the NASA Spirit rover at Gusev Crater at an altitude of about 300 kilometres. Mars Express uses four instruments to look down, while Spirit looks up.
Mars Express carries one of the most exciting packages of instruments in the history of Martian exploration. Using the flood of data expected from the spacecraft, scientists will be able to unlock the composition of the surface and the present-day workings of the atmosphere.
NASA's Spirit rover now has its arm and all six of its wheels free, and only a single cable must be cut before it can turn and roll off its lander onto the soil of Mars. As that milestone is completed, scientists are taking opportunities to take extra pictures and other data.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has successfully completed its stand-up activities by extending the rear wheels. This puts the rover into a fully opened configuration for the first time since pre-launch testing in Florida last spring.
NASA's Spirit, the first of two Mars Exploration Rovers on the martian surface, has stood up and extended its front wheels while continuing to delight its human partners with new information about its neighborhood within Mars' Gusev Crater.
While their peers sweat out their next geometry quiz, high school students Courtney Dressing and Rafael Morozowski are sweating out the commencement of surface activities with the rest of the Mars Exploration Rover team.
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today announced plans to name the landing site of the Mars Spirit rover in honor of the astronauts who died in the tragic accident of the Space Shuttle Columbia in February. The area in the vast flatland of the Gusev Crater where Spirit landed this weekend will be called the Columbia Memorial Station.
To land in a precise location on Mars after traveling over 300 million miles, navigators at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had to overcome the head-spinning challenges of calculating the exact speeds of a rotating Earth, a rotating Mars, and a rotating spacecraft, while they all simultaneously are spinning in their own radical orbits around the Sun.
Navigators for NASA's Spirit Mars Exploration Rover put the spacecraft so close to a bull's-eye with earlier maneuvers that mission managers chose to skip the final two optional maneuvers for adjusting course before arrival at Mars.
On Saturday night, January 3, the Mission Support Area (otherwise known as "mission control") at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be filled, with every seat at every station occupied by members of the Mars Exploration Rover team. Everyone will be holding a collective breath in anticipation of a safe landing.