NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20090014114: Mars Exploration Rover Mission

This viewgraph presentation reviews the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. The design of the Rover along with the Athena science payload is also describe...

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The Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Mission timeline Mars Exploration Rover Mission

•  Scientific goals: search for and characterize a wide range of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity on Mars •  Part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program which includes three previous successful landers: the two Viking landers in 1976 and Pathfinder in 1997, and now Mars Phoenix in 2008 •  Total cost of building, launching, landing and operating the rovers for the initial 90 sol -long primary mission: $820 million •  Both rovers still functioning over four years after landing!

Rover design

Spirit launch June 10, 2003

Athena science payload Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Pancam (2) miniTES UHF and X-band antennas

72-cell solar panels


IDD (instrument deployment device)

6-wheel rocker -bogey design, wheel diameter=10”

Opportunity: Mission Success Mars Exploration Rover Mission El Capitan Sol 29

El Capitan Sol 29

Overgaard Sol 690

Opportunity launch July 7, 2003

Opportunity: Eagle Crater

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

PMA (pancam mast assembly)

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

•  Launched separately in summer 2007 on Delta II rockets •  Landed January 2004 on opposite sides of Mars

Forward and rear Hazcams (fisheye)

APXS Mössbauer

Navcam (2)

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Farewell to Eagle Crater Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Meridiani Rocks: Grab bag Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Heat Shield Rock Sol 349

Sol 530

Bounce Rock Sol 66

Meridiani sand Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Meridiani sky

Opportunity’s traverse Mars Exploration Rover Mission

HiRISE Images Victoria

HiRISE Images Victoria

Mars Exploration Rover Mission


Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Mars Exploration Rover Mission


Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Where next?

Spirit: Gusev Crater Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Shortest Straight Line Distance to Endeavour is 12.2 kilometers

Gusev volcanic plains

Spirit’s Traverse

Gusev rocks: Volcanic

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Gong Gong sol 736 3 cm x 3 cm

Tomahawk Sol 693

Comanche Sol 694

Sulfur & silica serendipity

Sulfur & silica serendipity Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Home Plate Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Raw APXS Data 16

d n o c e S / s t n u o C

A1194-Kenosha Comets A847-Progress2



91% pure SiO2!














Energy (keV)





Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Wind and dust Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Where next for Spirit? Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Data sent to ODY in local afternoon, relayed to Earth

Rovers execute plan

Spacecraft plan radiated to rover direct from Earth

Scientists & engineers examine data

Engineering team + subset of scientists create a plan for the spacecraft

Scientists & engineers call into a telecon and discuss what to do that sol

Mast-mounted instruments

Arm-mounted instruments Mars Exploration Rover Mission

•  Panoramic Camera (Pancam), for determining the mineralogy, texture, and structure of the local terrain •  Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) for identifying promising rocks and soils for closer examination •  Both are mounted 1.5 m high •  One motor turns the mast 360°; a separate elevation motor points the cameras 90° above and below the horizon

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

•  Mössbauer spectrometer (MB) for mineralogy of iron -bearing rocks and soils •  Alpha particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) for abundances of elements in rocks and soils •  Magnets, for collecting magnetic dust particles •  Microscopic Imager (MI) for close-up, high-resolution images •  Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT), for removing dusty and weathered rock surfaces and exposing fresh material

Oliv ine

Hema tite

Mazatzal Sol 76 Hem atite

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

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