Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Spirit Lands On Mars and Sends Postcards

05.01.2004


A traveling robotic geologist from NASA has landed on Mars and returned stunning images of the area around its landing site in Gusev Crater.


First Look at Spirit at Landing Site

This is one of the first images beamed back to Earth shortly after the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit landed on the red planet.

Image credit: NASA/JPL



Mars Exploration Rover Spirit successfully sent a radio signal after the spacecraft had bounced and rolled for several minutes following its initial impact at 11:35 p.m. EST (8:35 p.m. Pacific Standard Time) on January 3.

"This is a big night for NASA," said NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe. "We’re back. I am very, very proud of this team, and we’re on Mars."


Members of the mission’s flight team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., cheered and clapped when they learned that NASA’s Deep Space Network had received a post-landing signal from Spirit. The cheering resumed about three hours later when the rover transmitted its first images to Earth, relaying them through NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter.

"We’ve got many steps to go before this mission is over, but we’ve retired a lot of risk with this landing," said JPL’s Pete Theisinger, project manager for the Mars Exploration Rover Project.

Deputy project manager for the rovers, JPL’s Richard Cook, said, "We’re certainly looking forward to Opportunity landing three weeks from now." Opportunity is Spirit’s twin rover, headed for the opposite side of Mars.

Dr. Charles Elachi, JPL director, said, "To achieve this mission, we have assembled the best team of young women and men this country can put together. Essential work was done by other NASA centers and by our industrial and academic partners.

Spirit stopped rolling with its base petal down, though that favorable position could change as airbags deflate, said JPL’s Rob Manning, development manager for the rover’s descent through Mars’ atmosphere and landing on the surface.

NASA chose Spirit’s landing site, within Gusev Crater, based on evidence from Mars orbiters that this crater may have held a lake long ago. A long, deep valley, apparently carved by ancient flows of water, leads into Gusev. The crater itself is basin the size of Connecticut created by an asteroid or comet impact early in Mars’ history. Spirit’s task is to spend the next three months exploring for clues in rocks and soil about whether the past environment at this part of Mars was ever watery and suitable to sustain life.

Spirit traveled 487 million kilometers (302.6 million) miles to reach Mars after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on June 10, 2003. Its twin, Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, was launched July 7, 2003, and is on course for a landing on the opposite side of Mars on Jan. 25 (Universal Time and EST; 9:05 p.m. on Jan. 24, PST).

The flight team expects to spend more than a week directing Spirit through a series of steps in unfolding, standing up and other preparations necessary before the rover rolls off of its lander platform to get its wheels onto the ground. Meanwhile, Spirit’s cameras and a mineral-identifying infrared instrument will begin examining the surrounding terrain. That information will help engineers and scientists decide which direction to send the rover first.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington. Additional information about the project is available from JPL at: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov and from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., at: http://athena.cornell.edu.

| NASA
Further information:
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20040104a.html
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov
http://athena.cornell.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Gravitational waves from a merged hyper-massive neutron star
15.11.2018 | Royal Astronomical Society

nachricht Discovery of a cool super-Earth
15.11.2018 | Universität Hamburg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Putting food-safety detection in the hands of consumers

15.11.2018 | Information Technology

Insect Antibiotic Provides New Way to Eliminate Bacteria

15.11.2018 | Life Sciences

New findings help to better calculate the oceans’ contribution to climate regulation

15.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>