12 Years of Martian Opportunity

This week marks the 12 year anniversary of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, part of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission.  Only expected to last 90 days, Opportunity is still working.  Not only functional, it’s still returning good data about Mars. It’s definitely taken a beating, and it has to be careful.  Being powered by solar panels and not a thermonuclear generator like it’s younger cousin Curiosity means it has to be careful to stay in the sunlight.  Dust on the panels certainly reduces their efficiency, but Opportunity has had some help from Martian winds to keep the dust from...

All the Mars Rovers – And Some Scientists

How do the Mars rovers compare in size and features? Here’s a great photo putting it all into perspective. Included are Sojourner, Spirit/Opportunity, and Curiosity, with a couple of testing officials at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  These are not the rovers that were sent to Mars, but are the secondary ones built for testing here on Earth.  They cost a lot of money to build too, so NASA keeps them nice and safe.