Mars rover

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
Artist's conception of the Curiosity rover vaporizing rock on Mars. The rover landed on Mars in August 2012.

A Mars rover is an automated motor vehicle which propels itself across the surface of the planet Mars after landing.

Rovers have several advantages over stationary landers: they examine more territory, they can be directed to interesting features, they can place themselves in sunny positions to weather winter months and they can advance the knowledge of how to perform very remote robotic vehicle control.

There have been four successful robotically operated Mars rovers. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory managed the Mars Pathfinder mission and its now inactive Sojourner rover. It currently manages the Mars Exploration Rover mission's active Opportunity rover and inactive Spirit, and, as part of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, the Curiosity rover.


Image map of Mars landings

The following imagemap of the planet Mars has embedded links to geographical features in addition to the noted Rover and Lander locations. Click on the features and you will be taken to the corresponding article pages. North is at the top; Elevations: red (higher), yellow (zero), blue (lower).

Tharsis MontesHellas PlanitiaOlympus MonsValles MarinerisArabia TerraAmazonis PlanitiaElysium MonsIsidis PlanitiaTerra CimmeriaArgyre PlanitiaAlba MonsMap of Mars
About this image

Spirit Spirit

Opportunity Opportunity

Pathfinder <<<<<-MPF/Sojourner

Viking 1 Viking 1

Viking 2 Viking 2

Phoenix Phoenix

Mars 3 Mars 3

Curiosity Curiosity

Rover synopsis

Several rovers have been sent to Mars:

Rover concepts

Mars rovers in development include:

One experimental design, not proposed for any actual mission, is:

NASA rover goals

Panorama of Husband Hill taken by MER-A Spirit Rover, November 23–28, 2005.

NASA distinguishes between "mission" objectives and "science" objectives. Mission objectives are related to progress in space technology and development processes. Science objectives are met by the instruments during their mission in space.

The details of rover science vary according to equipment carried. The primary goal of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers is to discover "the history of water on Mars".[21] (The presence of usable water would greatly reduce manned mission cost.)

The four science goals of NASA's long-term Mars Exploration Program are:


Mars rover Sojourner atop its lander Pathfinder at the National Air and Space Museum
MSL mockup compared with the Mars Exploration Rover and Sojourner rover by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on May 12, 2008
Sojourner rover on Mars
A Martian sunset at Gusev Crater. Spirit rover, May 19, 2005.
Three generations of U.S. Mars rovers

See also


  1. ^ a b "Mars 2 Lander". NASA NSSDC. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  2. ^ a b NSSDC - Beagle 2
  3. ^ "Mars Exploration". 10 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  4. ^ Boyle, Alan. "Good moves on Mars". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  5. ^ Times, International Business (January 26, 2010). "NASA concedes defeat in effort to free rover". Retrieved 2010-01-26.
  6. ^ "NASA Concludes Attempts To Contact Mars Rover Spirit". NASA. May 24, 2011.
  7. ^ "Mars Exploration". 10 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  8. ^ "NASA's Mars Rovers Set Surface Longevity Record". NASA. May 19, 2010.
  9. ^ 'Greeley Haven' is Winter Workplace for Mars Rover
  10. ^ "Mars Science Laboratory Launch". 26 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
  11. ^ Associated Press (26 November 2011). "NASA Launches Super-Size Rover to Mars: 'Go, Go!'". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
  12. ^ USGS (16 May 2012). "Three New Names Approved for Features on Mars". USGS. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  13. ^ NASA Staff (27 March 2012). "'Mount Sharp' on Mars Compared to Three Big Mountains on Earth". NASA. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  14. ^ Agle, D. C. (28 March 2012). "'Mount Sharp' On Mars Links Geology's Past and Future". NASA. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  15. ^ Staff (29 March 2012). "NASA's New Mars Rover Will Explore Towering 'Mount Sharp'". Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  16. ^ Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (22 July 2011). "NASA's Next Mars Rover To Land At Gale Crater". NASA JPL. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  17. ^ Chow, Dennis (22 July 2011). "NASA's Next Mars Rover to Land at Huge Gale Crater". Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  18. ^ Amos, Jonathan (22 July 2011). "Mars rover aims for deep crater". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  19. ^ Michael A. Taverna (October 19, 2009). "ESA Proposes Two ExoMars Missions". Aviation Week. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  20. ^ Kimberly W. Land (May 13, 2003). "A new way to explore the surface of Mars". NASA. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  21. ^ "Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Overview". Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  22. ^ "Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Science - Looking for signs of past water on Mars". Retrieved 2008-06-25.

External links

Rover websites