Spirit rover now safely on the actual surface of Mars!
This just in, as of 06:00 Eastern, Thursday January 15, the Spirit rover has egressed and now has "6 wheels on soil." What all the presenters at NASA JPL's (very) early morning press conference emphasized was the large team of people it has taken to get right down to the surface of Mars, traversing that last 40 cms from the lander to the rust-red dirt. At last they're able to say they've truly landed. "Passion" and "daring", says Joel Krajewski, took them through 12 days of "hard labor" of ITE, "Impact to Egress." Stay tuned for new pictures, and the first scientific data from the instruments on the robotic arm which can now reach out and begin to assay the rocks and soil. It's been a tremendous effort, in an incredibly compressed schedule, but now -- as Joel just said -- there's "life" on Mars, at least in the form of the hopes and dreams and hard work of the Mars Exploration Rover team. Congratulations to all of them, from P2K, and thanks for sharing your stories with the "TO MARS WITH MER" team.
P2K is also busy: our live and interactive FIRST LOOK TV special debuts Saturday January 17, from 3-4 p.m. Eastern. Depending on mission requirements, viewers will see and hear Steve Squyres and others live from JPL, interacting with youngsters and families at a Mars Festival at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, commenting on the very latest images and information direct from Mars. (Click here for full details and satellite coordinates.)
This section of the site links you directly to the latest official information from NASA JPL, and to behind-the-scenes journals from several participants in the mission, hosted by Cornell University, The Planetary Society, and others.
The Mars Exploration Rover mission will be adding new pictures, data and stories each and every day: at times this and other websites may be a day or two behind breaking news, but the links to right and under should take you to the very latest information from NASA and its partners. Onwards and Upwards in the exploration of Mars!