This exhibition celebrates the amazing images and achievements of the two Mars Exploration Rovers on the 10th anniversary of their landings on the Red Planet.
The twin Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity were launched toward Mars in the summer of 2003. They arrived months later in spectacular fashion, bouncing down safely on the surface after a harrowing six-minute descent through the thin atmosphere. Spirit arrived on January 3, 2004, and Opportunity on January 24, 2004.
One of the mission’s main scientific goals was to search for and study a wide range of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity on Mars. To do this, the rovers landed on opposite sides of Mars in locations that appear to have been affected by liquid water in the past.
The goal of each rover was to travel up to 1 kilometer (2/3 mile) during a primary mission of 90 Martian days. Both rovers far exceeded these expectations. Spirit traveled 7.7 kilometers (4.8 miles) over more than six years. Opportunity has traveled more than 38 kilometers (23.6 miles) over an ongoing mission that has reached 10 years.
This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of Cornell University, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and NASA.