Mars Exploration Rovers

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Mars Exploration Rovers

Post  meodingu on Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:13 pm

Mars Exploration Rovers

Artist's conception of MER on Mars
Main article: Mars Exploration Rovers

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission (MER), is an ongoing robotic space mission involving two rovers exploring the planet Mars. The mission is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which designed, built and is operating the rovers.

The mission began in 2003 with the sending of the two rovers — MER-A Spirit and MER-B Opportunity — to explore the Martian surface and geology. The mission's scientific objective is to search for and characterize a wide range of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity on Mars. The mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program which includes three previous successful landers: the two Viking program landers in 1976 and Mars Pathfinder probe in 1997.[35]

The total cost of building, launching, landing and operating the rovers on the surface for the initial 90-Martian-day (sol) primary mission was US$820 million.[36] Since the rovers have continued to function far beyond their initial 90 sol primary mission (to date both rovers have been functioning on Mars's surface for nearly seven years), they have each received multiple mission extensions.

In recognition of the vast amount of scientific information amassed by both rovers, two asteroids have been named in their honor: 37452 Spirit and 39382 Opportunity







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