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NKC Roving On Mars Text

A group of young, animated characters against a colorful background with the words NASA Kids' Club

Roving On Mars

When you dream about going places, where do you go? The Grand Canyon, Africa or New York? If you look at the stars, you will see one that is bright and red. But it is not really a star. It is Mars, the fourth planet from the sun. Of all the planets, Mars is most like Earth. That is why we want to go there.

But we can't send people to Mars yet. The planet has no water, but it has ice. It is a cold place. It has very little air. It will not be easy for people to live on Mars. So, we have sent rovers there instead. And we have given them a lot to do. Two rovers landed on Mars in 2004. One is named Spirit. The other is Opportunity. We thought they would only last a few months. But they have kept exploring much longer than that!

The rovers landed on different parts of Mars. They move from place to place to see new things. They take pictures to send back to Earth. They study the rocks on Mars, too. They use drills to dig into the rocks. Scientists on Earth use cameras to look at the rocks and dirt there.

NASA landed a new rover on Mars in 2012. The rover's name is Curiosity. It has tools that help scientists study rocks, soil and air. Curiosity is looking for proof of life on Mars.

The rovers don't have it easy. The air around them gets colder than our North Pole! Dust storms swirl all around them. And sometimes they get stuck! Spirit slipped down a hill, and Opportunity was trapped in a crater. But all these challenges give scientists more to study.

Page Last Updated: January 21st, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator