NASA's Amazing "Martian Rovers" Continue Extraordinary
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit successfully drove
off its lander platform and onto the soil of Mars early Thursday.
The robot's first picture looking back at the now-empty lander and
showing wheel tracks in the soil set off cheers from the robot's
flight team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
"Spirit is now ready to start its mission of exploration and
discovery. We have six wheels in the dirt," said JPL Director Dr.
Since Spirit landed inside Mars' Gusev Crater on Jan. 3 (PST and
EST; Jan. 4 Universal Time), JPL engineers have put it through a
careful sequence of unfolding, standing up, checking its
surroundings and other steps leading up to to
Global Positioning System satellite IIR-10, which launched from
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Dec. 21, is now fully
"It is officially 'turned on' for the warfighter as of Jan. 12,"
said Capt. Thomas R. Ste. Marie, an Air Force launch controller
with the 1st Space Launch Squadron. "IIR-10 will appear on GPS user
sets as the number 22 and is visible locally from 10:41 p.m. to
4:56 a.m. today. Each day, the time window slips four minutes
This particular satellite has replaced another that began running
low on power.
It is expected to provide military, commercial and civilian users
worldwide with increased positioning and timing accuracy for the
next 10 years.