Rovers on Mars

MarsLast night NOVA broadcast MARS Dead or Alive, an examination of the current project to send two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, to Mars to search for signs of life. Less than 24 hours after Spirit's successful landing, NOVA showed the jubilant team celebrating the initial success of the mission. The show will be re-broadcast tomorrow night (Tuesday) and will have the latest updates. It's full of interesting information about the rovers, and contains lots of interviews with scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I recommend it if you're at all interested in Mars, MERs (Mars Exploratory Rovers), and space exploration.

Also, Sprit is now sending back color photos of the Martian landscape at Gusev Crater which NASA is supposed to release today. In another week or so, Spirit should begin its exploration of the surface (driving around, collecting samples, taking pictures, etc.) and sending back even more cool data! And then on January 24th, the second rover, Opportunity, is expected to land. So cool! I love the rovers, and I'm so glad to see another one successfully landed. For more information, here's NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission website. And just for kicks, here's a Mars rover family photo, showing the new rover and its predecessor, a spare from the 1997 Pathfinder mission. The new rovers are so much bigger!