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Spirit rover (Marsrover)

Spirit rover (Marsrover) (Space)

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Spirit, mission designation MER-A (Mars Exploration Rover - A), is the first of the two rovers of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission. It landed successfully on Mars on 04:35 Ground UTC on Jan. 4, 2004 (15 years ago), three weeks before its twin Opportunity (MER-B) landed on the other side of the planet. Its name was chosen through a NASA-sponsored student essay competition.

The rover completed its planned 90-sol mission, then, aided by cleaning events which resulted in higher power from its solar panels, went on to function effectively over twenty times longer than NASA planners expected. This allowed it to perform more extensive geological analysis of Martian rocks and planetary surface features. Initial scientific results from the first phase of the mission (roughly, the 90-sol prime mission) were published in a special issue of the journal Science.

On May 1, 2009 (10 years ago), Spirit was stuck in soft soil on Mars, one of the mission's embedding events. NASA is carefully analyzing the situation to get the rover back on track, but it will take weeks before a new attempt will be made to extricate the rover from its current position called "Troy".

The latest news about efforts to free the rover from soft soil on Mars is available at the “Free Spirit” website.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington.


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