Want to know what our intrepid rovers have been up to lately? In our latest Mars Rover report -- Spirit is cloud-watching and Opportunity is moving up in the world.


Hi, I'm Scott Maxwell, and this is your rover report.

I'm the rover driver team lead for Spirit and Opportunity and I'm here today to fill you in on what our intrepid rovers have been up to lately.

As of today, both rovers have been operating on Mars for more than 1,600 Martian days. Both rovers continue to operate and to do science from the Martian surface.

Opportunity is moving up in the world; She's back up on higher ground after a safe exit from Victoria Crater.

Opportunity spent nearly a full Earth year exploring the inside of Victoria crater, in the process returning spectacular and unprecedented views into the Martian past.  But after seeing a one time spike on Opportunity's left-front wheel, the team decided it would be safest to wrap-up science operation inside the crater and return to flat ground on the outside, as soon as possible.

In order to accomplish this important goal, the team worked on "Mars time," setting our Earthbound work schedules to match the slightly longer Martian day. 

Even though this meant working well past midnight, it was the way we could make the most progress in the shortest time.

Despite the rapid pace set for exiting the crater, Opportunity found time for an activity most of us associate with lazy Sundays -- watching the clouds go by.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Mars, at Gusev Crater, Spirit is riding out a very tough winter. She's waiting for power levels to rise high enough that she can resume exploring actively.  In order to survive the winter she had to park on a north-facing slope at a very steep tilt to aim her solar panels more directly at the sun. Now this image shows the extreme northerly tilt that Spirit had to achieve in order to safely survive this winter.

The team is keeping a very careful eye on the weather near Spirit's location, watching for any rise in atmospheric dust that might foretell a corresponding drop in her power levels. But so far, we haven't seen anything to worry about.

Spirit made time recently to perform the interplanetary equivalent of synchronizing your watches. 

She sent an electronic beep tone back to Earth at a specified time, and we watched for the arrival time of that signal in order to set our Earth clocks to match hers. 

I'm Scott Maxwell, and this has been your rover report.
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