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Rover Will Spend 7th Birthday at Stadium Size Crater
01.04.11
 
 
The high-resolution camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has photographed the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity beside a 100-meter-diameter crater, which the rover will explore over the next several weeks. This phase includes an important milestone for Opportunity and its twin, Spirit: This month, both rovers are celebrating their seventh anniversaries on Mars. 


Interview Excerpts RT: 2:21
Center Contact – Guy Webster   818-354-6278
HQ Contact – Dwayne Brown     202-358-1726

For more information: http:
http://www.nasa.gov/rovers
http://www.nasa.gov/mro

John Callas, Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager, JPL

Cut 1- (00:12) -It’s been seven years since the rovers landed on Mars. This was originally a 90-day mission, only three months and here we are some seven years later and we’re still exploring and we’re still discovering on the surface with these rovers.
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John Callas, Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager, JPL

Cut 2 - (00:24) – “Recently, the HiRise camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took a picture of “Santa Maria” crater with Opportunity right there and so if you zoom in on the picture, you can see Opportunity right there at the edge of the crater. You know, this is just like a parent at the Grand Canyon and your child has walked around to the other rim and you can see they’re very close to the edge and you get a little worried, but no, the rover is right there doing what we have her doing, exploring that crater.”
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John Callas, Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager, JPL

Cut 3 - (00:50) - “After Opportunity has finished the investigation of “Santa Maria” crater, which will happen after we complete the solar conjunction, so around mid-February.  The rover is going to pick things up and start driving again and head towards Endeavour crater which is still about 6 km away as the crow flies. So it’ll take us some time to get there, you know, probably on the order of a Martian year, maybe two Earth years. But that’s our next big objective because we know there are these clay minerals present in the rim of Endeavour Crater that is suggestive of ancient water on Mars that was of neutral ph. Neutral water is what astrobiologist assess that life started in and so the fact that there is evidence of ancient neutral water on Mars is very exciting for the bio-potential of the planet.”
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John Callas, Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager, JPL

Cut 4 - (00:32) - “Spirit has gone into a deep sleep during the winter and Spirit will get colder than she’s ever gotten before, so there’s a risk that the rover may not survive the winters. However, if Spirit does survive the winters, we are listening and we are listening every day so see if the rover wakes up to talk to us. And so that’s what we’ve been doing ever since March. We haven’t heard from Spirit since. Energy levels should be improving every single day and we will continue to listen as long as we think there is a chance of hearing from the rover.”
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