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Durable Mars Rovers Sent Into Third Overtime Period

mosaic image from opportunity
Opportunity navigation camera mosaic from sol 399 Beside 'Vostok Crater' 3/15/05 NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its navigation camera to take the images combined into this 360-degree view of the rover's surroundings on the 399th martian day, or sol, of its surface mission (March 8, 2005). Opportunity drove 35 meters (115 feet) that sol and reached the edge of "Vostok Crater" before taking the images. Sand has buried much of the crater. This location is catalogued as Opportunity's site 50. The view is presented in a cylindrical projection with geometric seam correction. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

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NASA has approved up to 18 more months of operations for Spirit and Opportunity, the twin Mars rovers that have already surprised engineers and scientists by continuing active exploration for more than 14 months.

"The rovers have proven their value with major discoveries about ancient watery environments on Mars that might have harbored life," said Dr. Ghassem Asrar, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "We are extending their mission through September 2006 to take advantage of having such capable resources still healthy and in an excellent position to continue their adventures."

More: JPL - Durable Mars Rover Sent Into Third Overtime Period

Link: USGS Astro - Mars Exploration Rover Project