Mars Rover Mission Extended

SOS

ONA
Wackbag Staff
Aug 14, 2000
48,194
8,897
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USA
#1
AP
NASA Extends Mars Rovers Mission



PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Mars' aging twin rovers will explore the red planet for at least two more years under an extension approved by NASA.

It is the fifth time the space agency has continued the activities of the solar-powered, six-wheel robots, which landed on opposite ends of the planet in 2004.

The extension means Spirit and Opportunity will conduct science experiments through 2009 provided they stay healthy. The rovers weathered a giant dust storm earlier this year that at one point drastically reduced their power and scaled back their operations.

Spirit is currently exploring a plateau called Home Plate for evidence of volcanism. Last month, Opportunity reached its first stop inside a huge Martian crater and began studying the rock layers. Spirit has driven 4.5 miles while Opportunity has clocked 7.2 miles to date.

The price tag of the original mission, managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was $820 million. NASA previously granted four extensions totaling about $106 million. The latest extension will cost at least $20 million.
On the Net:

* Mars Rovers: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html
 

mikeybot

SPANAKOPITA!!!
Jul 25, 2005
19,293
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philly
#2
Its really cool how long those two have managed to continue working.
 

the far side

Registered User
Jul 6, 2006
167
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0
Brick NJ
#4
its very cool they are still going strong, wouldnt it suck if they found each other and had a head on collision
 

Budyzir

There's nothing quite like a shorn scrotum.
Nov 12, 2004
7,307
1
0
Queens, NY
#6
NASA is definitely getting their money's worth. Eventually they need to go back and look at what they did right to have these two robots function so long in those conditions, a kind of engineering postmortem.
 

mr. sin

Registered User
Mar 30, 2005
27,805
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RALEIGH, NC
#14
Always look both ways before crossing the crater. Recent Mastcam images show the northern rim of Gale Crater, Mars.



Shifting sands lie before me. Off to image, scoop & scuff active dunes on Mars. http://go.nasa.gov/1MRY0ig
 

mr. sin

Registered User
Mar 30, 2005
27,805
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RALEIGH, NC
#15
I'm on a road trip to Mars' Bagnold Dunes. What's new with you?