NASA has given the twin rovers
exploring Mars a new lease on life, extending their operations
another 18-months. Like the Energizer Bunny, Spirit and Opportunity
keep going... and going... and going....
The two exploration vehicles have already been roaming Mars for
more than a year. They gave scientists at the Jet Propulsion Labs
in Pasadena, CA, their strongest evidence to date that the Red
Planet was once at least partially covered with water. In the
universe of unmanned exploration projects, Spirit and Opportunity
"The rovers have proven their value with major discoveries about
ancient watery environments on Mars that might have harbored life,"
said Ghassem Asrar, deputy associate administrator for NASA's
Science Mission Directorate. He was quoted by UPI. "We are
extending their mission through September 2006 to take advantage of
having such capable resources still healthy and in excellent
position to continue their adventures."
"Spirit and Opportunity are approaching targets that a year ago
seemed well out of reach," said Doug McCuistion, director of NASA's
Mars Exploration Program, also quoted by UPI. "Their successes
strengthen NASA's commitment to a vision with the ambitious targets
of returning samples from Mars and sending human explorers to