Spirit and Opportunity


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the beginning

This image was taken on Jan. 4, 2004, by the navigation camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. Spirit operated for more than six years after landing in January 2004 for what was planned as a three-month mission.

Years Ago, Spirit Rover Lands on Mars

what went on with spirit

Spirit drove 4.8 miles (7.73 kilometers), more than 12 times the goal set for the mission.Spirit became the first robot to summit a hill on another planet; and covered more than half a mile (nearly a kilometer). The rover returned more than 124,000 images.

the win of opportunity

NASA is celebrating a win. The agency’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity completed its first Red Planet marathon Tuesday -- 26.219 miles – with a finish time of 11 years and two months.

This is the first time any human has exceeded the distance of a marathon on the surface of another world,

The rover team plans a marathon-length relay run at the laboratory next week to celebrate.

The long-lived rover surpassed the marathon mark during a drive of 153 feet. Last year, Opportunity became the long-distance champion of all off-Earth vehicles when it topped the previous record set by the former Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 moon rover.

Opportunity's original three-month prime mission in 2004 yielded evidence of environments with liquid water soaking the ground and flowing on planet’s surface. As the rover continued to operate far beyond expectations for its lifespan.

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"Our job was to wear these rovers out exploring, to leave no unutilized capability on the surface of Mars, and for Spirit, we have done that," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

"This mission isn't about setting distance records, of course; it's about making scientific discoveries on Mars and inspiring future explorers to achieve even more," said Steve Squyres.