Browse Archive

  • Test Mars Exploration Rovers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    Free Spirit: Second Test Rover Added to Driving Experiments

    08.21.09 - A second, lighter-weight test rover has entered the testing setup at JPL where rover team members are assessing strategy for getting Spirit out of soft soil where it is embedded on Mars.

  • Today marks the 2,000th Martian day, or sol, of what was initially planned as a 90-sol mission on Mars for NASA's Spirit rover.

    Spirit Hits 2,000

    08.18.09 - Today marks the 2,000th Martian day, or sol, of what was initially planned as a 90-sol mission on Mars for NASA's Spirit rover.

  • In this image from Aug. 12, 2009, rover team members are moving a board used in getting the setup ready for the next test.

    Free Spirit: Planned Rover Test to Run a Week or More

    08.13.09 - Mars rover team members are planning a long-duration experiment with the test rover at JPL beginning next week.

  • This view of a rock called Block Island, the largest meteorite yet found on Mars.

    Mars Meteorite Yields Clues About Planet's Past

    08.10.09 - NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity is investigating a metallic meteorite the size of a large watermelon that is providing researchers more details about the Red Planet's environmental history.

  • Panelists reviewed results to date from testing possible maneuvers to use in driving NASA's Mars Rover Spirit

    Free Spirit: More Testing Before Driving on Mars

    08.07.09 - A review on Aug. 6 of test results to date yielded a decision to conduct further checkouts in an augmented testing set-up on Earth.

  • Block Island Close-up

    Possible Meteorite Imaged by Opportunity Rover

    07.31.09 - The Opportunity rover has eyed an odd-shaped, dark rock, about 0.6 meters (2 feet) across on the surface of Mars, which may be a meteorite.

  • Rover testing maneuvers in a sandbox at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory aimed to help free the Spirit rover stuck on Mars.

    Free Spirit Testing Nearing Completion

    07.30.09 - Mars rover engineers at JPL are winding down testing of different escape maneuvers using a test rover in a sand box filled with soil to mimic the Martian surface.

  • Rover team members discuss the next step in preparing for a new phase in testing of possible moves for getting NASA's Mars rover Spirit out of a sandtrap on Mars.

    Longer Tests Beginning

    07.24.09 - Mars rover team members have begun a new phase of testing at JPL -- using longer-duration experiments -- in their preparations for driving Spirit again on Mars.

  • Mars Exploration Rover team members tested how altering the order in which individual wheels turn for steering affects how those turns dig the wheels deeper into soft soil.

    Next Step: Combinations of Basic Moves

    07.21.09 - As the Mars rover team uses testing at JPL to evaluate possible ways to drive Spirit out of loose soil on Mars, the team is finishing tests of individual "building block" maneuvers and is about to begin stringing some of those together.

  • In this view from behind a test rover, the rear wheels of the rover are turned toward the left, and the left-front wheel is turned toward the the right.

    Tests on Earth Help Rover on Mars: Live Webcast, Chat

    07.21.09 - A live videocast and chat from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will give viewers a chance to ask questions of rover team members working to get Spirit rolling again.

  • In this view from behind a test rover, the rear wheels of the rover are turned toward the left, and the left-front wheel is turned toward the the right.

    Free Spirit: Test Rover Checks Pivoting Technique

    07.16.09 - The Mars rover team is using a test rover at JPL to assess various extraction techniques that might get Spirit out of the loose soil of "Troy" on Mars.

  • The panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit was taking exposures with different color filters during the 1,919th Martian day.

    Mars Dust Devil Has Colorful Effect in Image Series

    07.14.09 - Scientists have combined a trio of shots taken seconds apart through different colored filters to create a special-effects portrait of a moving dust devil on Mars.

  • Rover team members prepare an experiment for assessing how a test rover moves when embedded in loose soil and commanded to drive backward with wheels turned.

    Free Spirit: Rover Engineers Test More Maneuvers

    07.13.09 - Engineers checking possible rover movements to get Spirit out of the "Troy" sand trap on Mars are evaluating how a comparable rover at JPL fares in a crablike backward drive, with all four corner wheels turned 60 degrees toward the right.

  • Mars Exploration Rover team members prepare a testing setup for the Spirit rover.

    Free Spirit: Tests Evaluating Crabwalk Moves

    07.10.09 - On firm ground, NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers can make crablike moves by turning all four steerable wheels to the same side angle, then rotating the wheels either forward or backward.

  • Engineers check the exact position of a test rover in preparation for the next test of a possible maneuver for Spirit to use on Mars.

    Free Spirit: Second Rover Test Maneuver is Backwards

    07.08.09 - Engineers used straight-backward driving of a test rover on Earth on Wednesday, July 8, as they evaluate maneuvers that might be useful for getting Spirit out of a sandtrap on Mars.

  • Rover driver Paolo Bellutta measures how much the rover moved sideways, downslope, during the maneuver.

    Free Spirit: Rover Extraction Tests Begin

    07.06.09 - Using a test rover in a sandbox at JPL with special soil simulating Spirit's predicament on Mars, engineers are assessing possible maneuvers for getting Spirit out and onto firmer ground.

  • Sandbox setup to test and assess possible moves for getting Mars rover Spirit out of a patch of loose Martian soil.

    Free Spirit: Rock Under the Belly

    07.01.09 - Engineers placed a rock underneath the test rover at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., on July 1, 2009, to more closely simulate Spirit's predicament on Mars.

  • a test rover rolls off a plywood surface into a prepared bed of soft soil

    Free Spirit: Test Rover Rolls In

    06.30.09 - After several days of preparing a sloped area of soft, fine soil to simulate Spirit's current sandtrap on Mars, the rover team drove a test rover into the material on June 30, 2009.

  • soft soil exposed when wheels of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit dug into a patch of ground

    Mars Rover Yielding New Clues While Lodged in Soil

    06.25.09 - NASA's Mars rover Spirit, lodged in Martian soil that is causing traction trouble, is taking advantage of the situation by learning more about the Red Planet's environmental history.

  • Artist's concept of the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity

    Opportunity Rolls Past the 10-Mile Mark

    05.26.09 - In a giant leap for Roverkind, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's odometer clocked past the 10-mile mark (16,133.96 meters) on May 25 (Sol 1897).