Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Monday, December 12, 2011
- Kok ~ Kok, Sarawak, Malaysia
- Raub ~ Raub, Malaysia
- Sibu ~ Sibu, Malaysia
The mission's scientific objective was to search for and characterize a wide range ofrocks 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.
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. Since the rovers have continued to function beyond their initial 90 sol primary mission, they have each received five mission extensions. The fifth mission extension was granted in October 2007, and runs to the end of 2009. The total cost of the first four mission extensions was $104 million, and the fifth mission extension is expected to cost at least $20 million.
In July 2007, during the fourth mission extension, Martian dust storms blocked sunlight to the rovers and threatened the ability of the craft to gather energy through their solar panels, causing engineers to fear that one or both of them might be permanently disabled. However, the dust storms lifted, allowing them to resume operations.
On May 1, 2009, during its fifth mission extension, Spirit became stuck in soft soil on Mars. After nearly nine months of attempts to get the rover back on track, including using test rovers on Earth, NASA announced on January 26, 2010 thatSpirit was being retasked as a stationary science platform. This mode would enableSpirit to assist scientists in ways that a mobile platform could not, such as detecting "wobbles" in the planet's rotation that would indicate a liquid core. Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) lost contact with Spirit after last hearing from the rover on March 22, 2010 and continued attempts to regain communications until May 25, 2011 bringing the elapsed mission time to 6 years 2 months 19 days or over 25 times the original planned mission duration.
In recognition of the vast amount of scientific information amassed by both rovers, two asteroids have been named in their honor: 37452 Spiritand 39382 Opportunity. The mission is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which designed, built, and is operating the rovers. The rovers also appeared in some tv series just for a parody for the real thing. When one of the scientist that work on the rovers gave a talk at my school, the famous topic was Mars maybe could support life there.