MARS Rover Spirit & Opportunity We're proud to be part of NASA's "extended family". Take part in our Space Science & Technology Fair at CM every March & view our new NASA exhibits! Come enjoy our Sat. Science and Educational Enrichment field trip programs. View Rover at CM in '02 & on Mars in '04! NASA Facts: Did you know each of the Mars Rovers, Spirit & Opportunity, has 9 "eyes": 4 engineering Hazard Avoidance cameras (Hazcams), 2 Navigation cameras (Navcams), 2 science Panoramic cameras (Pancams), 1Science Microscopic Imager.


Feb. 20, 2004 Graphic of a planning tool used by Mars Rover engineers to plot and scheme the perfect location to place the rock abrasion tool on the rock collection dubbed "El Capitan" (located within a larger outcrop nicknamed "Opportunity Ledge" ) near Opportunity's landing site.

Feb. 20, 2004 A view from front hazard camera of NASA's Spirit rover on its 47th martian day shows a trench excavated by the rover's left front wheel within "Laguna Hollow" area.

Feb. 16, 2004 Spirit's highlights

Feb. 16, 2004 Opportunity's highlights

Feb. 15, 2004 NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity made its first U-Turn on Mars on Feb. 14, 2004, as the completing move of its longest one-day drive, about 9 meters or 30 feet. This view from the right front hazard-avoidance camera shows the scene in front of Opportunity after the turn, with the selected location for the mission's first trenching operation now directly in front of the rover.

Feb. 15, 2004 This composite red-green-blue image of the rock called White Boat, is the first rock target that Spirit drove to after finishing a series of investigations on the rock Adirondack. White Boat stood out to scientists due to its light color and more tabular shape compared to the dark, rounded rocks that surround it.

Feb. 12, 2004 Color image taken by Spirit is centered on an unusually flaky rock called Mimi, only one of many features in the area known as "Stone Council," but looks very different from any rock scientists have seen at the Gusev crater site so far.

Feb. 11, '04 Long Term Planning graphic created from mosaic of navigation camera images overlain by a polar coordinate grid with center point as Opportunity's original landing site. Blue dots represent rover position at various locations.

Feb. 11, '04 Opportunity Spies Its Parachute and Backshell - the dfference in sky color in Spirit’s first panoramic images, where frames show different levels of darkness, depending on the weather when each frame was taken.


Feb. 9, 2004 A three-dimensional stereo anaglyph of an image taken by the front navigation camera onboard the Mars Rover Spirit, showing an interesting patch of rippled soil. Spirit took this image after completing the longest drive ever made by a rover on another planet - 21.2 meters (69.6 feet)


Feb. 11, '04 Four- to five-times larger than the current Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Science Laboratory would function like a six-wheeled off-road vehicle or Humvee.

Feb. 11, '04 Early concept art of Mars Science Laboratory -- a long-range, long-duration and heavy-duty rover for carrying out new science tasks on the red planet. Llated for launch in 2009.

Feb. 9, '04 Spirit took this front hazard-avoidance camera image after completing the longest drive ever made by a rover on another planet - 69.6 feet. The wavy feature called a bedform is created when material is transported & deposited by some process - here, wind.

Feb. 10, '04 This sharp, close-up image taken by the microscopic imager on Opportunity shows a rock target dubbed "Robert E."

Feb. 9, '04 This color image shows Spirit's instrument deployment device poised in front of the rock nicknamed Adirondack.

Feb. 9, '04 This image taken by panoramic camera onboard Opportunity shows the part of the rock outcrop dubbed Stone Mountain. Scientists are examining Stone Mountain with the instruments on the rover's instrument deployment device, or "arm," in search of clues about composition of rock outcrop.

Two views of the backshell and parachute that helped deliver Opportunity safely to the surface of Mars. The first, in top left picture, is from rover's perspective inside the small crater where it landed. The second, seen in the center, was taken by a camera onboard the Global Surveyor orbiter. The white spot inside the crater in upper right corner is rover's lander; white mark in lower left corner is the backshell.

Feb. 9, '04 From its new location at the inner edge of the small crater surrounding it, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity was able to look out to the plains where its backshell (left) and parachute (right) landed. Opportunity is currently investigating a rock outcropping with its suite of robotic geologic tools. This approximate true-color image was created by combining data from the panoramic camera's red, green and blue filters.

Feb. 9, '04 The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit drove itself 3 feet out of 21 feet at Gusev Crater, Mars, on Feb. 8, the 36th sol of its mission. This image shows the tracks it created in the martian soil as it drove straight ahead, then to the left. The rover also drove over Adirondack (seen in image bottom center), the bright rock that was targeted by Spirit's rock abrasion tool, on its way to a rock target called White Boat. This was the first test of the rover's autonomous system, which will be used many times in the days to come.

Feb. 9, '04 The round, shallow depression in this image resulted from history's first grinding of a rock on Mars. The rock abrasion tool on NASA's Spirit rover ground off the surface of a patch 1.8 inches in diameter on a rock called Adirondack. The hole is 0.1 inch deep, exposing fresh interior material of the rock for close inspection with the rover's microscopic imager and two spectrometers on the robotic arm. This image was taken by Spirit's panoramic camera, providing a quick visual check of the success of the grinding. Rock abrasion tools on both Mars Rovers supplied by Honeybee Robotics, N.Y.

Feb. 7, 2004 This animation shows the front, then rear view from Opportunity as it drives north towards the eastern edge of the rock outcropping near its landing site at Meridiani Planum.

Feb. 7, 2004 Microscopic images taken of the soil on Mars, before and after Exploration Rover Opportunity's Mössbauer Spectrometer was pressed down to take measurements. The disappearing rocks indicate the sandy soil is loosely packed.

Feb. 5, 2004 Spirit Back In Action: RAT Brush Removes Dust From Surface Of Adirondack rock

Feb. 5, 2004 Opportunity Starts Driving And Has More Soil Studies To Offer

Feb. 4, '04 First Mineral Map From Another Planet! This map of a portion of the small crater currently encircling the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows where crystalline hematite resides. Red and orange patches indicate high levels of the iron-bearing mineral, while blue and green denote low levels. The northeastern rock outcropping lining the rim of the crater does not appear to contain much hematite. Also lacking hematite are the rover's airbag bounce marks. This image consists of data from Opportunity's miniature thermal emission spectrometer superimposed on an image taken by the rover's panoramic camera.

Feb. 2, '04 Image taken from Spirit's PanCam looking west depicts the nearby hills dedicated to the final crew of Space Shuttle Columbia. Arranged alphabetically from left to right - "Anderson Hill" is the most northeast of Spirit's landing site and 3 kilometers away. Next are "Brown Hill" and "Chawla Hill", both 2.9 kilometers distant. Next is "Clark Hill" at 3 kilometers. "Husband Hill" and "McCool Hill", named for Columbia's commander and pilot respectively, are 3.1 and 4.2 kilometers distant. "Ramon Hill" is furthest southeast of Spirit’s landing site and 4.4 kilometers away.

Feb. 4, '04 This spectrum of the soil at the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site, Meridiani Planum, shows the presence of the shiny green mineral called olivine also seen at the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's landing site, Gusev Crater. Based on this data, scientists believe the soil at Meridiani is made-up of in part of finely grained basalt, a type of volcanic rock. The spectrum was captured by Opportunity's Moessbauer spectrometer.

Magnified look at the martian soil near Opportunity's landing site shows coarse grains sprinkled over a fine layer of sand. Scientists are intrigued by the spherical rocks, which can be formed by a variety of geologic processes, including cooling of molten lava droplets and accretion of concentric layers of material around a particle or "seed." The patch of soil is 1.2 inches across. The circular grain in the lower left corner is about .12 inches across, the size of a sunflower seed.

Feb. 4, '04 Camera onboard the Mars Rover Opportunity shows rover's arm in its extended position. The rover, now 3 ft away from lander, can be seen in the foreground.

Feb. 2, '04 Pictures Show Healthy Instruments On The Rover's Arm

Feb. 2, '04 The color image on the lower left shows a rock outcrop at Meridiani Planum, Mars. The yellow box outlines an area detailed in the top left image, which is a monochrome (single filter) image from the rover's panoramic camera. The top image uses solid colors to show several regions on or near the rock outcrop from which spectra were extracted: the dark soil above the outcrop (yellow), the distant horizon surface (aqua), a bright rock in the outcrop (green), a darker rock in the outcrop (red), and a small dark cobblestone (blue). Spectra from these regions are shown in the plot to the right.

Feb. 2, '04 In these line graphs of laboratory spectra, it is evident that different minerals have different spectra. The graph on the left shows the typical minerals found in igneous rocks, which are rocks related to magma or volcanic activity. The graph on the right shows iron-bearing candidates for further study and comparison to spectra from the Mars Exploration Rover panoramic cameras on Mars.

Feb. 2, '04 The color image on the lower left from the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the "Lily Pad" bounce-mark area at Meridiani Planum, Mars. The upper left image is a monochrome (single filter) image from the rover's panoramic camera, showing regions from which spectra were extracted from the "Lily Pad" area. As noted by the line graph on the right, the green spectra is from the undisturbed surface and the red spectra is from the airbag bounce mark.

Feb. 2, '04 This image taken at JPL shows the panoramic camera used onboard both Mars Exploration Rovers. The panel to the lower right highlights the multicolored filter wheel that allows the camera to see a rainbow of colors, in addition to infrared bands of light. By seeing Mars in all its colors, scientists can gain insight into the different minerals that constitute its rocks and soil.

Feb. 2, '04 This image taken at Meridiani Planum, Mars by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the rover's microscopic imager (circular device in center), located on its instrument deployment device, or "arm." The image was acquired on the ninth martian day or sol of the rover's mission.

Feb. 2, '04 This image taken at Meridiani Planum, Mars by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the rover's alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (circular device in center), located on its instrument deployment device, or "arm." The image was acquired on the ninth martian day or sol of the rover's mission.

Jan. 31, '04 The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's view of the martian horizon from its new position on the surface of Mars. Engineers received confirmation that Opportunity's six wheels rolled off the lander and onto martian soil at 3:01 a.m. PST, January 31, 2004, on the seventh martian day, or sol, of the mission. The rover is approximately 1 meter (3 feet) in front of the lander, facing north. The image was taken at Meridiani Planum by the rover's front hazard-identification camera.


Jan. 31, '04 Top image mosaic captured by Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's navigation camera shows the rover and the now-empty lander that carried it 283 million miles to Mars. Engineers received confirmation Opportunity's six wheels rolled off the lander and onto martian soil at 3:02 a.m. PST. Rover is approximately 1 meter (3 feet) in front of the lander. Bottom image shows Opportunity on martian soil.

Jan. 31, '04 Screenshot from the software used by engineers to roll Opportunity off its lander onto martian soil. Opportunity's six wheels touched ground at 3:01 a.m. PST, on the seventh martian day of the mission. The software simulates the rover's movements, helping plot a safe course. The virtual 3-D world around the rover is built from images taken by Opportunity's stereo navigation cameras. Regions where rover has not yet acquired 3-D data are represented in beige. Rover is approximately 1 meter (3 feet) in front of the lander, facing north.

Jan. 31, '04 This spectrum captured by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's mini-thermal emission spectrometer shows the presence of grey hematite in the martian soil at Meridiani Planum, Mars. On Earth, hematite forms in the presence of water, at the bottom of lakes, springs and other bodies of standing water. But it can also arise without water in volcanic regions. Scientists hope to discover the origins of martian hematite with the help of Opportunity's robotic set of geological tools. The yellow line represents the spectrum, or light signature, of the martian soil, while the red line shows the spectrum of pure hematite.

Jan. 31, '04 The Opportunity rover lands this week on Mars in an area rich with grey hematite. To find out what helped produce the hematite - water or volcanic activity - they'll be examining both the form of the hematite and the company it is keeping.

TES geologic map of Mars showing hematite-rich areas in red.


NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit took returned this image Jan 28, 2004, the first picture from Spirit since problems with communications began a week earlier. The image from the rover's front hazard identification camera shows robotic arm extended to the rock called Adirondack. As it had been instructed a week earlier, the Moessbauer spectrometer, an instrument for identifying the minerals in rocks and soils, is still placed against the rock.


Jan. 26, 2004 The side of a crater surrounding the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity at Meridiani Planum on Mars can be seen in this color image from the rover's panoramic camera. This is the darkest landing site ever visited by a spacecraft on Mars. The edge of the crater is approximately 10 meters (30 feet) from the rover.


Sun. Jan. 25, 2004 Above: Mission Members Celebrate Opportunity's Arrival On Mars Left: Ground controllers celebrate at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Jan. 25, 2004 Above: This image shows marks in the Martian soil, upper right, made by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's airbags during their final deflation and retraction. Right: This color image shows the martian landscape at Meridiani Planum, where the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity successfully landed at 9:05 p.m. PST on Saturday. This is one of the first images beamed back to Earth from the rover shortly after it touched down. The image was captured by the rover's panoramic camera.

Jan. 26, 2004 First black & white picture as Mars Rover Opportunity approaches its landing

Jan. 25, 2004 First color picture as Mars Rover Opportunity approaches its landing

Jan. 25, 2004 Second black & white picture by Mars Rover Opportunity

Jan. 25, 2004 Second color picture as Mars Rover Opportunity approaches its landing


A portion of a high-resolution image captured by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's panoramic camera on Jan. 28, '04, shows the puzzling rock outcropping that scientists eagerly wait to investigate. These layered rocks measure only 10 centimeters (4 inches) tall and are thought to be either volcanic ash deposits or sediments carried by water or wind.


A Hole in One - The interior of a crater surrounding the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity at Meridiani Planum on Mars seen in this color image from the rover's panoramic camera. This is the darkest landing site ever visited by a spacecraft on Mars. The rim of the crater is approximately 10 meters (32 feet) from the rover. The crater is estimated to be 20 meters (65 feet) in diameter. Scientists are intrigued by the abundance of rock outcrops dispersed throughout the crater, as well as the crater's soil, which appears to be a mixture of coarse gray grains and fine reddish grains.

Jan. 25, 2004 NASA's Mars rover Opportunity survived a risky descent through the Martian atmosphere and landed safely on the red planet. Within hours the robotic explorer beamed back black and white images of the Martian terrain

Jan. 25, 2004 Third black & white picture by Mars Rover Opportunity

Jan. 25, 2004 Third color picture as Mars Rover Opportunity approaches its landing

Jan. 25, 2004 Fourth black & white picture by Mars Rover Opportunity

Jan. 25, 2004 Fourth color picture as Mars Rover Opportunity approaches its landing

The smooth surfaces of angular and rounded rocks seen in this image of the Martian terrain may have been polished by windblown debris.


This image highlights streaks or tails of loose debris in the Martian soil, which reveal the direction of prevailing winds.


The Pancam calibration target. The Mars Exploration Rovers will carry the first-ever interplanetary sundial. This martian sundial will also be used to calibrate Pancam, the panoramic camera on the rovers.

International Space Station circling Earth.

A view of earth from space

A view of earth from space

Jan. 27, 2004 A diagram of the Mars Exploration Rover body which contains the RAD6000 computer that serves as the robot's brain. The computer is housed in the Rover Electronics Box (REB) which sits inside the Warm Electronics Box (WEB) to protect it from frigid Martian nights.

NASA's Jim Erickson points to the location of a heater on a model of the rover Opportunity during a press conferenceTuesday.

Above: Jan. 27, 2004 A MER robot meets smaller Sojourner test rover, identical to the Mars machinery that rolled its way across the red planet in 1997.
Left: Jan. 27, 2004 An image taken by the Mars Global Surveyor's Mars Orbiter Camera of the Columbia Memorial Station and the nearby hills named after the Apollo 1 crew. "Grissom Hill" is located 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) to the Southwest of the rover Spirit's landing site. "White Hill" is 11.2 kilometers (7 miles) Northwest of its position and "Chaffee Hill" is 14.3 kilometers (8.9 miles) south-Southwest of Spirit.

The chip used in the Mars Explorer Rovers

This three-dimensional model superimposes the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on one of its potential targets, a scientific treasure chest of martian rocks contained within the landing site, a crater on Meridiani Planum, Mars. The rover is placed on the rock outcrop for scale. Opportunity has not yet visited these rocks; it is currently still on its lander.

Rover's scientific instruments


Artist's concept of humans working on Mars

3-D Changing Planet - A perspective view of a mesa in the chaotic regions east of the Valles Marineris, reveals a surface that collapsed a long time ago, when large volumes of liquid, perhaps water, were removed in the subsurface and flowed towards the northern lowlands of Mars. The large crater in the background has a diameter of 7.6 km and a depth of 800

3-D Eroding Away - This perspective view shows an area 50 km across in Valles Marineris at 5° North and 323° East. It shows mesas and cliffs as well as flow features which suggest erosion by the action of flowing water. North is at the bottom. r

3-D Gusev Crater - A perspective oblique view of the ancient impact crater Gusev, where NASA's Mars Spirit rover is. This crater with a diameter of 160 km probably hosted a lake, as inferred from the existence of an inflowing channel called Ma´adim Vallis. Click to enlarge.

3-D Valles Marineris - A portion of a 1700 km long and 65 km wide swath which was taken in south-north direction across the Grand Canyon of Mars (Valles Marineris). It is the first image of this size that shows the surface of Mars in high resolution (12 meters per pixel), in color and in 3D. This perspective view is computer-generated from the original image data.

3-D More Valles Marineris - A portion of a 1,700 km long and 65 km wide swath which was taken in south-north direction across the Grand Canyon of Mars (Valles Marineris).

3-D Mars Scars - An area south of Valles Marineris at 15° South and 323° East and about 50 km across shows a tectonically controlled karst-like structure in a vertical view.


3-D Water-Carved? - The Reull Vallis, seen here in perspective view, could have been carved by water long ago, scientists speculate. It is east of the Hellas basin at 41° South and 101° East. The area is 100 km across.


3-D True Colors - A vertical view of a mesa in the true colors of Mars. The summit plateau stands about 3 km above the surrounding terrain. The original surface was dissected by erosion, only isolated mesas remained intact. The large crater has a diameter of 7.6 km.

3-D Strange Volcano - A three-dimensional oblique view of the summit caldera of Albor Tholus, a volcano in the Elysium region. The caldera has a diameter of 30 km and a depth of 3 km. The volcano as a whole has a diameter of 160 km and a height of 4.5 km. The depth of the caldera approaches the height of the volcano, which is unusual on Earth.


Jan. 27, 2004 An image taken from Spirit's PanCam looking west depicts the nearby hills named after the astronauts of the Apollo 1. The crew of Apollo 1 perished in flash fire during a launch pad test of their Apollo spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center, Fl. on January 27, 1967.


Spirit Reaches for Closer Look - Jan 16, 2004

This animation, composed of four images taken by the front hazard-identification camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, shows the rover stretching out its robotic arm, or instrument deployment device. This is the first use of the arm on Mars to deploy the microscopic imager, one of four geological instruments located on the arm. The first frame shows a clear view of the martian surface in front of the rover before the arm was successfully deployed early Friday morning. The subsequent frames show the arm emerging from its stowed position beneath the "front porch" of the rover body, reaching out, and using the microscopic imager to take close-up images of the martian soil.


Jan. 19, 2004 - Artist's concept of Mars Exploration Rover using its Rock Abrasion Tool, nicknamed the RAT.


Jan. 20, 2004 If NASA's Opportunity rover makes a successful landing on Mars Jan. 24, confidence would be elevated for the airbag approach used to cushion it and its twin, Spirit, as they bounced across the surface.


An artist's conception of a future Martian geologist.

Jan. 18/19, 2004 This image mosaic taken by panoramic camera onboard the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the rover's landing site, the Columbia Memorial Station, at Gusev Crater. This spectacular view may encapsulate Spirit's entire journey, from lander to its possible final destination toward the east hills. On its way, the rover will travel 250 meters (820 feet) northeast to a large crater approx 200 meters (660 feet) across, the ridge of which can be seen to the left of this image. To the right are the east hills, about 3 kilometers (2 miles) away from the lander. A portion of Spirit's solar panels appear in the foreground. Data from the panoramic camera's green, blue and infrared filters were combined to create this approximate true color image.

Above: Mars Exploration Rover after petals have opened and deployment is complete. Right: As Spirit descended onto Mars' surface on Jan. 3, it performed a series of entry, descent and landing actions, leaving visible marks on the surface of Mars. This "path" of Spirit's descent is labeled in this image. This image is a composite of images taken by the camera on Mars Global Surveyor and Spirit's descent image motion estimation system (DIMES) camera.

Spirit's Descent Path

Jan. 19, 2004 - This true color image taken by the panoramic camera onboard Spirit shows Adirondack, the rover's first target rock. The rock was selected as Spirit's first target because its dust-free, flat surface is ideally suited for grinding. Scientists named the angular rock after the Adirondack mountain range in New York. The word Adirondack is Native American and is interpreted by some to mean They of the great rocks.

Jan. 19, 2004 This 3-D stereo anaglyph image was taken by Spirit's front hazard-identification camera after the rover's first post-egress drive on Mars Sunday. Engineers drove the rover approximately 3 meters (10 feet) from the Columbia Memorial Station toward the first rock target, seen in the foreground. The football-sized rock was dubbed Adirondack because of its mountain-shaped appearance.

Jan. 20, 2004 - Spirit's Panoramic Camera has taken ultra-close images of Adirondack, the rover's first target rock, in preparation for use of rock grinding device.

Jan. 19, 2004 - Spirit's camera system is yielding unprecedented detail as to the nature of rocks, from large to small.

Jan. 19, 2004 - Making a turn on Mars. Spirit makes tracks on the martian terrain, steering to a new location.

Jan. 20, 2004 - Close-up inspection of Spirit's wheel tracks yields data useful for both scientists and engineers.

Jan. 20, 2004 - Working for science on Mars. Turret of instruments on Spirit's robot arm includes Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT), built to grind into rock surface. Microscope Imager and two specialized spectrometers are also part of the toolkit on Mars.


Jan. 19, 2004 - This 3-D perspective image taken by the panoramic camera onboard the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows Adirondack, the rover's first target rock. Spirit traversed the sandy martian terrain at Gusev Crater to arrive in front of the football-sized rock on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004, just two days after it successfully rolled off the lander.




Left: This is the first color image of Mars taken by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. It is the highest resolution image ever taken on the surface of another planet. Image credit: NASA/JPL/ Cornell University. Above: Marks in the martian soil (upper right) were made by the rover's airbags during final deflation and retraction.


A three-dimensional color model created using data from the Mars Exploration Rover's panoramic camera shows images of airbag drag marks on the martian surface.

This Spirit image highlights streaks or tails of loose debris in the martian soil, revealing the direction of prevailing winds.

The smooth surfaces of angular and rounded rocks may have been polished by wind-blown debris, scientists say. The picture was taken by Spirit's panoramic camera.


This section of the first color image from the Spirit rover has been further processed to produce a sharper look at a trail left by one of the rover's airbags. The drag was made after the rover landed and its airbags were retracted.

A view of Spirit's landing site taken by the Mars Global Surveyor shows the rover's planned route. Engineers plan to send the rover about 820 feet (250 meters) from the green point to the rim of a nearby crater. Spirit then heads toward the East Hill Complex. Their tops are about 1-2 miles (2-3 kilometers) from the rover's estimated landing site.

Spirit's front hazard avoidance cameras are visible after the rover backed up 10 inches (25 centimeters) and turned 45 degrees clockwise.

What forces shaped the complex layers in these Martian hills? One theory suggests the lower areas are made of older rock, like sedimentary rock on Earth. The ridges in this image, captured by the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter, are wide enough for a truck to drive on them. Three robotic explorers from Earth, arriving over the holidays, will attempt to unlock other scientific secrets of the red planet.

Moon Meets Mars: The red planet, its south polar cap visible in telescopes, sidled up to the nearly full moon in an extraordinary alignment for many observers in the Eastern US. Some in parts of Florida, the Caribbean and Central America enjoyed a more dramatic treat as the moon briefly eclipsed Mars, which in late August made its closest approach to Earth since prehistoric times.

Spirit Rover Ready for All-Wheels on Mars
The Spirit rover on Mars is prepared to roll and rock now that engineers have turned the rover to exit its landing platform at Gusev Crater. The overall health of the robot remains excellent, with Spirit ready to wheel onto Mars late tonight, into the early morning hours here at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Spirit has been on Mars for 11 days.


NASA's Spirit Rover is providing a lesson to aspiring digital photographers: Spend your money on the lens, not the pixels. Scientists have charted where the Spirit Mars Exploration Rover is to journey once the robot's wheels hit the dirt. After driving off its perch, Spirit will first analyze neighborhood soil and rock, then travel to a nearby crater.

Spirit is Out the Gate - Jan 15, 2004
This image from the rover's front hazard identification camera shows the rover's view of the martian landscape from its new position 1 meter (3 feet) northwest of the lander. One of the rover's next tasks will be to locate the Sun with its panoramic camera and calculate from the Sun's position how to point its main antenna toward Earth.

Spirit is Out the Gate - Jan 15, 2004
JPL engineers played Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out" in the control room as they watched new images confirming that the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit successfully rolled off its lander platform early Thursday morning.

Spirit Leaves Tracks - Jan 16, 2004 Scientists have found clues about the nature of martian soil through analyzing wheel marks from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit in this image. The image was taken by Spirit's rear hazard-identification camera just after the rover drove approximately 1 meter (3 feet) northwest off the Columbia Memorial Station (lander platform). That the wheel tracks are shallow indicates the soil has plenty of strength to support the moving rover. The well-defined track suggests the presence of very fine particles in the martian soil (along with larger particles). Scientists also think the soil may have some cohesive properties.


Martian Soil in 3-D - Jan 16, 2004

This image taken by the microscopic imager on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the powdery soil of Mars in 3-D. It is the sharpest look yet at the surface of another planet. The microscopic imager is located on the rover's instrument deployment device, or "arm." .


Above: Spirit Looks Back (color) - Jan 15, 2004 Note the tracks left in the martian soil by the rovers' wheels, all six of which have rolled off the lander. This is the first time the rover has touched martian

Spirit Reaches Out at JPL - Jan 16, 2004 Footage taken at the JPL In-Situ Instruments Laboratory, or "testbed," shows engineers practicing the deployment of the test rover's robotic arm before doing the real thing with the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit at Gusev Crater on Mars. Spirit successfully deployed its robotic arm, which carries four geological instruments, over martian soil early Friday morning.

Mars in Glorious Detail - Jan 16, 2004 This close-up look at a patch of martian soil is the sharpest image ever taken of another planet. The picture was captured by the microscopic imager located on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's instrument deployment device, or "arm." Scientists liken the alien soil to clumpy cocoa powder. The upper left corner of the soil patch is illuminated by direct sunlight and thus appears brighter. The actual size of the patch is about 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) across.

Martian Soil in 3-D - Jan 16, 2004 This image taken by the microscopic imager on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the powdery soil of Mars in 3-D. It is the sharpest look yet at the surface of another planet. The microscopic imager is located on the rover's instrument deployment device, or "arm."

The Mars rover Spirit stretched its robotic arm over Martian soil Friday, and its microscopic imager is capturing even-higher-resolution images than the ones sent back after landing. - Jan 16, 2004

Virtual Rover Deploys Arm - Jan 16, 2004 This image shows a screenshot from the software used by engineers to lower the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's instrument deployment device, or "arm." The rover's arm movements were tested and performed with the help of this virtual rover world.

Spirit Reaches for Closer Look - Jan 16, 2004 This image taken by the front hazard-identification camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, shows the rover's robotic arm, or instrument deployment device. The arm was deployed from its stowed position beneath the "front porch" of the rover body early Friday morning. This is the first use of the arm to deploy the microscopic imager, one of four geological instruments located on the arm. The instrument will help scientists analyze and understand martian rocks and soils by taking very high resolution, close-up images.

Spirit About to Reach for Closer Look - Jan 16, 2004 This image taken by the front hazard-identification camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, shows a clear view of the martian surface in front of the rover before the rover deployed its robotic arm, or instrument deployment device. The arm was deployed from its stowed position beneath the "front porch" of the rover body. This is the first use of the arm to deploy the microscopic imager, one of four geological instruments located on the arm. The instrument will help scientists analyze and understand martian rocks and soils by taking very high resolution, close-up images.

Spirit Leaves Home - Jan 16, 2004 This overhead polar image was captured after Spirit took a few baby rolls away from the spacecraft that bore it tens of millions of miles to Mars.

A Penny for Your Reference - Jan 16, 2004 This close-up image of a penny shows the degree to which the microscopic imager on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit can zoom in on a target. The penny is seen exactly as it would be on Mars if it were placed under the microscopic imager. This picture was taken by the imager during testing at JPL.

Snapshots of Martian Soil - Jan 16, 2004 This animation strings together five different snapshots of the martian soil captured by the microscopic imager onboard the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. Each picture was taken from a different height. Scientists combine these images to produce one well-focused picture. The actual size of the soil patch shown here is 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) across.

Mars Spirit Turret


Above: A medium-resolution of the first 360-degree panoramic view of the martian surface, taken on Mars by the Exploration Rover Spirit's panoramic camera. Part of the spacecraft can be seen in lower corner regions.


Close-up of The East Hill Complex, where Spirit is headed

Images courtesy of JPL and Cornell University. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. NASA choose Cornell to lead the science effort for Mars missions. The principal scientific investigator is Cornell's Steve Squyres. The Children's Museum, adopted by NASA, had Cornell's Mars Rover on display for three months in 2002, visited by House Science Committee Chair Sherwood Boehlert & NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe.


Below: View & read about the Rover visit to the Children's Museum & our adoption by NASA


Aug. 2002: Excited youngsters pose w/NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe (L.) & Congressman Sherry Boehlert (R.) in front of Cornell Univ's Mars Rover.


Aug. 2002 Congressman Boehlert w/ NASA Admin. O'Keefe & CM Director Marlene announcing an ongoing partnership with NASA & CM
.

Kids in front of Mars Rover model exhibit

Left side, the team from Cornell University

Congressman Boehlert introduces Administrator O'Keefe

Administrator O'Keefe addresses the CM crowd

Museum Director Brown interviewed by media

Boehlert & O'Keefe interviewed by media

Mars Rover model exhibit

Mars Rover model exhibit

Steve Squyres Mars Rover main scientist

Enthralling students with Rover information

Mars Rover gets ready for the Red Planet!

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At a visit to the Children's Museum in August of 2002, Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, Chairman of the House Science Committee and NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe announced that NASA had adopted the Children's Museum and established a long term relationship with both exhibits and educational materials. In December of 2002, Congressman Boehlert and Dr. Ray Orbach, Director of the Department of Energy's Office of Science, announced that the DOE's OS had also adopted the Children's Museum, the first time, Dr. Orbach said, that they had adopted a children's museum. Our 4th floor's Grand Opening took place on Friday, Dec. 6, 2002 with dignitaries, guests, elected officials, corporate sponsors, the media, and the board of directors. Included were Congressman Boehlert, Dr. Orbach, Scientists from Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in CA, Fermi National Accelerator Lab in IL, and Princeton Plasma Physics Lab in NJ.

NASA & DOE's Office of Science have adopted the Children's Museum in Utica, NY! Exhibits unveiled include NASA, DOE, Airplane, Fire & Police Dept's, Flags, Stamps, our airplane, 4th Floor Charter members plaque. At present, our 4th floor is open to the public from 11:30am to 12:30pm and again from 2:00pm to 3:30pm Monday through Saturday, and for field trip space science programs booked. We are looking for adults to serve as Guides for this floor. If interested, email Director Marlene. View our beginnings, view an awesome panaromic picture of the world from space, and track the International Space Station's orbit.

Continuing the important scientific space journeys, we look to the future. NASA's exciting Starship 2040 made the Children's Museum part of its nationwide tour on March 27th-31st. We enthusiastically welcomed back NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, and welcomed for the first time Marshall Space Flight Center Director Art Stephenson, Astronaut Leland Melvin, & Assoc. Admin. of NASA Educ. Dr Adena William Loston, to our Children's Museum. The public met them Sat. March 29th at our 2:30pm NASA Ceremony as we Travel the Highway to Space, Paying Tribute & Exploring the Future. Visitors toured Starship 2040; tried on a space suit, viewed NASA exhibits, took part in exciting NASA presentations. View itinerary. Read OD article. Read NASA press release. View the Children's Museum 4th Floor

Feb. 21st Congressman Sherry Boehlert & Utica Mayor Tim Julian helped Exec Director Marlene Brown honor the Columbia crew & our extended NASA family. After the ceremony, visitors viewed exhibits & signed our Book of Condolences for the Columbia, their families & our NASA friends. All week, there were several neat programs. Read OD coverage & NASA's Message to Youth. View Space Science2 page.

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Improve life here; Extend life to there; Find life beyond
The International Space Station
The International Space Station - Research and Technology
Children's Museum adopted by NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe & House Science Chairman Sherwood Boehlert
L to R: Front Row: Trevor & Rachel Caron; Second Row: Nick Rotundo, Shawn McCool, Museum Director Marlene Brown, Congressman Sherry Boehlert, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe; NASA Office of Educ. Assoc. Admin. Dr. Adena Loston; and Astronaut Leland Melvin participate in the opening Ceremony event.

NASA's Mission: to understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe, and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers.
MER: the Mars Rover
The Mars Rover making history

Go to new stuff page * Go to 4th floor page * Go to NASA Starship event page * Go to Space Science page

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The Children's Museum of History, Living History, Science & Technology
311 Main Street, Utica, NY 13501
Tel: 315-724-6129
* Web: www.museum4kids.net

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