Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spirit Rolls All Six Wheels Onto Martian Soil

Date:
January 16, 2004
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit successfully drove off its lander platform and onto the soil of Mars. The robot's first picture looking back at the now-empty lander and showing wheel tracks in the soil set off cheers from the robot's flight team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

This image from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's rear hazard identification camera shows the rover's hind view of the lander platform, its nest for the past 12 sols, or martian days. (NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

January 15, 2003 -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit successfully drove off its lander platform and onto the soil of Mars early today.

The robot's first picture looking back at the now-empty lander and showing wheel tracks in the soil set off cheers from the robot's flight team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

"Spirit is now ready to start its mission of exploration and discovery. We have six wheels in the dirt," said JPL Director Dr. Charles Elachi.

Since Spirit landed inside Mars' Gusev Crater on Jan. 3 (PST and EST; Jan. 4 Universal Time), JPL engineers have put it through a careful sequence of unfolding, standing up, checking its surroundings and other steps leading up to today's drive-off.

"It has taken an incredible effort by an incredible group of people," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager Peter Theisinger of JPL.

The drive moved Spirit 3 meters (10 feet) in 78 seconds, ending with the back of the rover about 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) away from the foot of the egress ramp, said JPL's Joel Krajewski, leader of the team that developed the sequence of events from landing to drive- off. The flight time sent the command for the drive-off at 12:21 a.m. PST today and received data confirming the event at 1:53 a.m. PST. The data showed that the rover completed the drive-off at 08:41 Universal Time (12:41 a.m. PST).

"There was a great sigh of relief from me," said JPL's Kevin Burke, lead mechanical engineer for the drive-off. "We are now on the surface of Mars."

With the rover on the ground, an international team of scientists assembled at JPL will be making daily decisions about how to use the rover for examining rocks, soils and atmosphere with a suite of scientific instruments onboard.

"Now, we are the mission that we all envisioned three-and-a-half years ago, and that's tremendously exciting," said JPL's Jennifer Trosper, mission manager.

JPL engineer Chris Lewicki, flight director, said "It's as if we get to drive a nice sports car, but in the end we're just the valets who bring it around to the front and give the keys to the science team."

Spirit was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on June 10, 2003. Now that it is on Mars, its task is to spend the rest of its mission exploring for clues in rocks and soil about whether the past environment in Gusev Crater was ever watery and suitable to sustain life. Spirit's twin Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, will reach Mars on Jan. 25 (EST and Universal Time; 9:05 p.m., Jan. 24, PST) to begin a similar examination of a site on the opposite side of the planet.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Images and additional information about the project are available from JPL at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov and from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., at http://athena.cornell.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Spirit Rolls All Six Wheels Onto Martian Soil." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040116073728.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2004, January 16). Spirit Rolls All Six Wheels Onto Martian Soil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040116073728.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Spirit Rolls All Six Wheels Onto Martian Soil." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040116073728.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

AFP (July 30, 2014) The European Space Agency's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) is takes off to the International Space Station on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

AP (July 30, 2014) Arianespace launched a rocket Tuesday from French Guiana carrying a robotic cargo ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins