NASA's Spirit Mars Rover Celebrates Its 13th Anniversary

Posted: Jan 4 2017, 9:10am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
NASA's Spirit Mars Rover Celebrates its 13th Anniversary
NASA's Spirit Mars rover landed on Mars on Jan. 3, 2004. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • Mars Rover Celebrates its 13th Anniversary

Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission started operations 13 years ago on Jan. 3, 2004 by landing six-wheeled robot named Spirit.

It’s been 13 years from now that NASA started its MER, Mars Exploration Mission. The mission also involves six wheeled robot called spirit. The craft started its mission on Jan 3 2004, whereas its twin started its journey three weeks later. Both MER missions had a task to observe water signs on the red planet.

The scientists expected the research to last for three months, but the twins kept on chugging for many years. Spirit reached Martian sand in April 2009 where it got lost because it could not reorient the solar panels that could track the sun through Mars’s intense winters, so spirit froze to death, stated by NASA engineers.

Spirit made its last contact with the earth in March 2010, and then later the MER team announced the death of the rover. Spirit covered 4.8 miles on its odometer, according to Space.com.

The mission involved several discoveries during 6 years of its mission on Mars. The best discovery happened when the rover's crippled right-front wheel made a trench in the dirt of Gusev Crater, revealing bright-white silica. These types of deposits are mad on earth by hot water. Spirit disclosed an old Martian hydrothermal system, said NASA officials.

The research shows that in the past the Mars had water and also energy- two elements essential for life.Spirit also took pictures of dust devils and the Martian clouds, and also took earth’s first image from the mars. The death of spirit did not cause the end of MER mission that costs $800 million.

Opportunity is still active and it’s working fine with just few flash memory issues, stated MER team members. Opportunity also made several discoveries on its own.

This rover has a record of longest traveled distance on another planet’s surface i.e. 27.12 miles, or 43.65 km. This distance is longer than a marathon that covers 26.2 miles, 42.2 km, stated the research team.

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