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Saturday, January 3, 2004

Spirit Lands "By the Book"

An artist's conception of a Mars Exploration Rover.
An artist's conception of a Mars Exploration Rover.
Credit: NASA/JPL
According to live NASA television, Spirit has defeated the odds and landed successfully on Mars. A brief burst of signal was followed by tense silence as it bounced across the surface. We now have a clear signal from the lander coming in from both the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft and the Deep Space Network.

The next steps are extremely critical in the mission. Spirit has landed right-side-up, but now it must both open its protective petals and deploy its solar arrays so that it will have power when the sun rises. If these two steps do not happen correctly, the mission will be over...but so far, it has been a "picture perfect" landing. The first images from the lander may come as soon as this morning.

- posted by Brian @ 23:56 EST