Status Report

NASA Administrator’s Message: The 10th Anniversary of the Mars Exploration Rovers

By SpaceRef Editor
January 7, 2014
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This month, NASA celebrates the 10th anniversary of our Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.

The rovers captured the world’s imagination immediately in 2004. They went right to work doing science, and what was supposed to be a 90-day mission is still going strong, with Opportunity still exploring and returning data home.

The two rovers are a testament to NASA ingenuity, and the confidence and investment the American people have placed in their space program. Together, these amazing robots will go down in history for their tenacity and their many findings.

NASA is committed to leading the world in the exploration of Mars, and these rovers are among many ongoing and future missions that will continue to improve our understanding of Mars and pave the way for human missions to the Red Planet.

The U.S. remains the only nation to ever successfully land and operate rovers on Mars. Our exploration of Mars remains strong with the success of the Mars Curiosity rover, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey spacecraft currently orbiting the planet.

A Mars lander mission called InSight is set to launch in 2016 and take the first look into the deep interior of Mars. Another Mars rover scheduled to launch in 2020 will build on the success of Curiosity.

Our work at Mars is far from over. Even as Opportunity continues to roam, the Curiosity rover has already determined that Mars could have supported life in the past, and it continues to study the planet with the most sophisticated set of instruments ever landed.

Joining our rovers and orbiters soon will be MAVEN, which arrives this September to study the Martian upper atmosphere.

 All of this will pave the way for humans to travel to Mars in the 2030s. Science and exploration are working together to make this historic feat possible, and we’re developing technologies right now, including the Space Launch System and the Orion multipurpose crew vehicle, to take astronauts once again to deep space.

As we celebrate this wonderful anniversary, we can look back at the ways Spirit and Opportunity transformed our understanding of Mars and look forward to amazing new missions that will raise the bar of our achievement even higher.


SpaceRef staff editor.