Mars Rovers

Hannah N.

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What Are the Mars Rovers, and What Do they Plan to Do?

The Mars rovers are small rovers, or robots, that NASA sent to Mars. Their plan was to explore more about Mars, since it is not currently possible for a space team of men or women to visit the planet. The creators had one specific mission in mind: find signs of life on Mars. The Viking had been sent to Mars previously, but the pictures it got from orbit wasn't doing the job. For eight years, NASA declined the idea of sending rovers to Mars. The creator, Steve Squayres, presented the idea to many. Eventually NASA decided to do it, and the work began.

Building the Rovers

Two rovers were originally built, and they both were the size of a small car. As the rovers were being built, they were being tested. They failed along the way, but this made it so the builders could change whatever was wrong. They took many tests, such as climbing, gathering, and photography tests. Squyres and a team of 170 built the rovers, along with help from labs all over the world. The rovers finished, but they needed to be named. A young girl chose the names, Spirit and Opportunity.
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Exploring Mars

The rovers were sent off into space one month apart. Spirit was first to go. The rovers launched in a rocket, similar to what astronauts take to space. Once close enough to Mars, the rovers parted with their aircraft, and eventually used a parachute to land safely on Mars' soil. The rovers were controlled completely by the team (including Steve Squyres) from Earth. While the rovers were on Mars, they took tests on rocks and minerals, trying to find an answer to their original question. Could there be life on Mars? The rovers used their cameras, robotic-like hands, and scientific testers to test what each mineral was, and if it could hold life. Over the time spent on Mars, the rovers had a few problems. Opportunity in particular struggled with climbing down a crater, while Spirit struggled climbing up a hill. The rovers eventually succeeded. They were on opposite sides of the planet during their mission.

Overall Discovery and Current Work

The rovers found evidence that there was once water on Mars. NASA hasn't heard from Spirit since 2010, and they said their final good-byes on May 25, 2011. Opportunity is still doing research on Mars, and has been since January of 2004. Another rover, named Curiosity, has been created and sent to Mars. She is a little bit bigger than the other rovers were. Her mission is different: Can Mars support small forms of life, called Microbes? The search continues presently, and more discoveries are being made.
Mars Rovers Information

Click on this link to find current, past, and future plans for all three rovers. Find all information about the rovers and Mars.

Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity landing on Mars

Works Cited

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Mars Rover - Opportunity. Digital image. NASA. NASA, 27 Jan. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <>.

Mars Rover Update (thumbnail). Digital image. NASA. NASA, 21 May 2010. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <>.

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"Overview - Mars Science Laboratory." Overview - Mars Science Laboratory. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015. <>.

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Rusch, Elizabeth. The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print. Scientists in the Field Ser.