NASA has begun field tests, in an Arizona meteor crater, of a mobile Wi-Fi system that could allow astronauts on manned planetary exploration missions to easily deploy wireless data connectivity, similar to the wireless technology used by many people to connect their laptops and other mobile devices to the Internet. Mars explorers might carry wireless-enabled personal computers while on extra-vehicular activities (EVAs) for collecting and exchanging data and information with eachother, the lander, and mission control on Earth.
NASA's second Mars Exploration Rover successfully sent signals to Earth during its bouncy landing and after it came to rest on one of the three side petals of its four-sided lander. Mission engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., received the first signal from Opportunity on the ground at 9:05 p.m. Pacific Standard Time Saturday via the NASA Deep Space Network, which was listening with antennas in California and Australia. Opportunity landed in a region called Meridiani Planum, halfway around the planet from the Gusev Crater site where its twin rover, Spirit, landed three weeks ago. Earlier today, mission managers reported progress in understanding and dealing with communications and computer problems on Spirit.