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  • Spirit Scientists Plot a Course
    The first thing that the Spirit rover will do later tonight, after getting all six wheels on the ground, is sample the soil in the immediate vicinity of its base petal. Once that task is complete, Spirit will head out toward a nearby crater.
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  • Our Time in the Sun
    Each martian day is about 40 minutes longer than a terrestrial one, but thanks to the first interplanetary sundial the differences in movements of the sun can be tracked between two planets by the shadow that the sun casts.
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  • Reverse Robotic Origami
    As the Spirit rover unfolded from its stowed position and prepared to drive with six wheels in the martian soil, mission scientists described why the current landing site has their team ready to drive.
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  • Earth, Wind and Fire: What’s Missing?
    In variations on the Mars' theme to 'follow the water', one colorful global map shows why scientists have followed the hydrogen to the Spirit rover's current location at Gusev crater.
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  • Water on Mars? Maybe.
    The first color images, seen as if in infrared with heat detection, reveal that Gusev crater has some signatures of minerals common to Earth that form only in water. If found in future images, this ground-truth provided by being on the surface will
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  • Where on Earth is That?
    Short of buying a ticket to Mars, where on Earth is the best place to get a taste of what scenery the red planet offers? A tourist to a Mars analog location would have to pack well, because the destination may be cold, dry,
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  • There’s History in Them Thar Hills
    Taking the Spirit rover over the horizon is just one of the unique mission options available to scientists as they debate where to turn next on Mars.
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  • Location Is Everything
    To tie down Spirit's location, three mission teams have agreed to within a quarter-mile. But before driving their rover around, the teams want to agree precisely on terrain and features in an otherwise flat landscape.
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  • Museum of the Galaxies
    Comets that formed beyond Pluto and orbit the sun give off a spectacular show, but none quite so close or bright as the one witnessed by the Stardust mission team. Their comet dust sampler revealed a strange, pockmarked surface rich in depressions and steep walls.
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  • Mars is Solar Groovy
    While engineers engage their rover with mission commands and scientists look for rocks, an untold history on Mars is being written by the weather itself. In Gusev crater, or the 'cup' where the Spirit rover came to rest, newly released images from orbit indicate
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  • Water Signs
    If the Mars Exploration Rovers' twin panoramic cameras represent a pair of eyes, then the Mini-TES (Mini-Thermal Emission Spectrometer) is its third eye. Mini-TES analyzes a scene in infrared, rather than in visible light. Scientists can interpret its data to determine the mineral composition of
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  • Rover Science Team Eyes Sleepy Hollow
    After passing a complete check-up on Sol 2, the Spirit rover is getting ready to communicate directly with Earth using its high-gain antenna.
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  • Postcards from Mars
    In its first transfer of Mars imagery, the rover Spirit beamed down around seventy images, and exceeded its best predicted transfer rates by 150%. The landing area looks surprising clean and not too rugged, which will help geologists uncover whether it is an ancient dry
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  • Stardust’s Success
    The Stardust spacecraft successfully flew by the comet Wild 2 on Friday, gathering dust and taking pictures. The first image surprised scientists - the comet's nucleus is a round snowball pocketed with deep caverns, with at least five jets spewing material out into space.
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  • Spirit’s First Light
    First images show spectacular camera views from nearly a quarter billion miles away, on the surface of Mars.
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