January 15, 2009
Five years after landing on Mars in January 2004, the twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are still studying the Red Planet. They were originally planned as three-month missions. Catch up with the rovers via the following multimedia products:
--Two videos highlight the triumphs and challenges of the twin rovers. The story of Spirit is at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=801 . Opportunity's journey can be seen at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=802 .
--Rover team members, including the science principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University, share the thrills and challenges in a video at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=795 .
--Rover Project Manager John Callas of JPL discusses the rovers' lives, longevity and legacy at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/podcast/mer20090112.cfm .
--Astronaut E. Michael Finke, commander of the Expedition 18 crew currently orbiting Earth in the International Space Station, has sent a video message congratulating the scientists and engineers of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity landing on Mars. This video plays at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=803 .
The intrepid rovers have made many discoveries about historically wet and violent environments on ancient Mars. They have climbed a mountain, descended into craters, struggled with sand traps and aging hardware, survived dust storms, and relayed more than a quarter million pictures back to Earth.
A variety of Los Angeles-area public events are being held to mark the rovers' five-year anniversary, including a lecture that will be streamed live. Information at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2009-04 .