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Roving Mars - Steve Squyres - Spirit and Opportunity and the Exploration of the Red Planet USED

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Roving Mars - Steve Squyres - Spirit and Opportunity and the Exploration of the Red Planet  USED

Roving Mars - Steve Squyres - Used Book

used hardback in good condition with dustcover

‘Suppose just for a moment that the miracle of genesis really did occur on Mars… then evidence for how it happened may still be there, a story in the rocks waiting to be read.’ — Steve Squyres

In Roving Mars, Steve Squyres, principal scientist for the Mars Exploration Rover mission, shares his gripping account of life at the centre of one of the great explorations of all time. Since 1977, Squyres had dreamed of exploring Mars, and after nearly two decades of planning and preparation, he got his chance. With hundreds of other scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and elsewhere, Squyres worked to build and launch two rovers named Spirit and Opportunity, and then guide them on Mars.

In the tradition of other groundbreaking stories of exploration and adventure, Squyres captures every glorious success and heartbreaking setback of the mission from potentially catastrophic design defects to the tension between scientists and engineers. He recounts the exhilarating race to get the rovers to the launchpad in time, and introduces us to the remarkable individuals who got them there. Once the rovers were on Mars, the team had to overcome a whole new set of obstacles, including harsh weather conditions on the Red Planet and a near-fatal communication blackout between Spirit and mission control. But the payoff came when the rovers performed beyond anyone’s wildest expectations giving Squyres and his team the chance to make unparalleled discoveries about Mars’s potential for life.

Squyres artfully chronicles more than a decade of ups, downs, triumphs, dead ends, politics, and, at times, utter confusion in this dramatic tale of how Spirit and Opportunity beat the odds. Roving Mars is both a true adventure story and an insider’s view of life at the frontiers of exploration.

 

About the Rovers

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission is an ongoing robotic mission of exploring Mars, that began in 2003 with the sending of two rovers — MER-A Spirit and MER-B Opportunity — to explore the Martian surface and geology.

Primary among the mission's scientific objectives is to search for and characterize a wide range of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity on Mars. The mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program which includes three previous successful landers: the two Viking landers in 1976 and Pathfinder in 1997.

The total cost of building, launching, landing and operating the rovers on the surface for the initial 90 Martian-day primary mission was US0 million. Since the rovers have continued to function for over five years after landing they have received five mission extensions with the fifth mission extension, which was granted in October 2007, being until the end of 2009. The total cost of the first four mission extensions was 4 million and the fifth mission extension is expected to cost at least million.[1] In July of 2007, Martian dust storms blocked sunlight to the rovers and threatened the ability of the craft to gather energy through their solar panels, causing engineers to fear that one or both of them might be permanently disabled. However, the dust storms lifted, allowing them to resume operations.

In recognition of the vast amount of scientific information amassed by both rovers, two asteroids have been named in their honor: 37452 Spirit and 39382 Opportunity.

The mission is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which designed, built and is operating the rovers.

On January 21, 2004, the Deep Space Network lost contact with Spirit, for reasons originally thought to be related to a thunderstorm over Australia. The rover transmitted a message with no data, but later that day missed another communications session with the Mars Global Surveyor. The next day, JPL managed to receive a beep from the rover, indicating that it was in fault mode. On the 23rd, the flight team succeeded in making the rover send. The fault was believed to have been caused by an error in the rover's Flash memory subsystem. The rover did not perform any scientific activities for 10 days, while engineers updated its software and ran tests. The problem was corrected by reformatting Spirit's flash memory and upgrading the software with a patch to avoid memory overload; Opportunity was also upgraded with the patch as a precaution. Spirit returned to full scientific operations by 5 February. This has to date been the most serious anomaly in the mission.

On March 23, 2004, a news conference was held announcing "major discoveries" of evidence of past liquid water on the Martian surface. A delegation of scientists showed pictures and data revealing a stratified pattern and cross bedding in the rocks of the outcrop inside a crater in Meridiani Planum, landing site of MER-B, Opportunity, suggesting that water once flowed in the region. The irregular distribution of chlorine and bromine also suggests that the place was once the shoreline of a salty sea, now evaporated.

On April 8, 2004, NASA announced that it was extending the mission life of the rovers from 3 to 8 months. It immediately provided additional funding of US million through September, and .8 million per month for continuing operations.

On April 30, 2004, Opportunity arrived at Endurance crater, taking about 5 days to drive the 200 meters.

On September 22, 2004, NASA announced that it was extending the mission life of the rovers for another 6 months. Opportunity was to leave Endurance crater, visit its discarded heat shield, and proceed to Victoria crater. Spirit was to attempt to climb to the top of the Columbia Hills.

On April 6, 2005, with the two rovers still functioning well, NASA announced another 18 month extension of the mission to September 2006. Opportunity was to visit the "Etched Terrain" and Spirit was to climb a rocky slope toward the top of Husband Hill.
Spirit's "postcard" view from the summit of Husband Hill: a windswept plateau strewn with rocks, small exposures of outcrop, and sand dunes. The view is to the north, looking down upon the "Tennessee Valley". This approximate true-color composite spans about 90 degrees and consists of 18 frames captured by the rover's panoramic camera.

On August 21, 2005, Spirit reached the summit of Husband Hill after 581 sols and a journey of 4.81 kilometers (2.99 mi).

Spirit celebrated its one Martian year anniversary (669 sols or 687 Earth days) on November 20, 2005. Opportunity celebrated its anniversary on December 12, 2005. At the beginning of the mission, it was expected that the rovers would not survive much longer than 90 Martian days. The Columbia Hills were "just a dream" according to rover driver Chris Leger.

On February 7, 2006, Spirit reached the semicircular rock formation known as Home Plate. It is a layered rock outcrop that puzzles and excites scientists. It is thought that its rocks are explosive volcanic deposits, though other possibilities exist, including impact deposits or wind/water borne sediment.

On March 13, 2006, Spirit's front right wheel ceased working while the rover was moving itself to McCool Hill. Her drivers attempted to drag the dead wheel behind Spirit, but this only worked until reaching an impassable sandy area on the lower slopes. Drivers directed Spirit to a smaller sloped feature, dubbed "Low Ridge Haven", where she spent the long Martian winter, waiting for spring and increased solar power levels suitable for driving.

On September 26, 2006, Spaceflight Now reported that NASA has extended mission for the two rovers through September 2007. On September 27, 2006, Opportunity reached the rim of Victoria crater.

Spirit had lasted over 1,000 Martian days exploring Gusev Crater as of October 25, 2006. Opportunity had lasted over 1,000 Martian days exploring Meridiani Planum as of November 16, 2006. As of January 24, 2007, the rovers had lasted on Mars more than three years. (Although Opportunity landed on January 25, the year 2004 was a leap year.)

On February 6, 2007, Opportunity became the first spacecraft to traverse 10,000 meters - 10 kilometers - on the surface of Mars.

On June 28, 2007, Opportunity was poised to enter Victoria Crater from its perch on the rim of Duck Bay., but due to extensive dust storms, it was indefinitely delayed until the dust had cleared and power returned to safe levels.

On August 28, 2007, Spirit and Opportunity resumed driving after hunkering down during raging dust storms that limited solar power to a level that nearly caused the permanent failure of both rovers.

On October 1, 2007, both Spirit and Opportunity entered their fifth mission extension that could possibly extend operations into 2009, allowing the rovers to have spent five years exploring the Martian surface, pending their continued survival.

On January 3, 2008, Spirit entered its fourth year of exploration of Gusev crater.

On January 25, 2008, Opportunity entered its fourth year of exploration of Meridiani Planum.

On August 26, 2008, Opportunity began to climb out of Victoria crater amidst concerns that power spikes, similar to those seen on Spirit before the failure of its right-front wheel, might prevent Opportunity from ever being able to leave the crater in the event of the failure of one of its wheels. Project scientist Bruce Banerdt has also said, "We've done everything we entered Victoria Crater to do and more." Opportunity will return to the plains in order to characterize Meridiani Planum's vast diversity of rocks--some of which may have been blasted out of craters such as Victoria. The rover had been exploring Victoria Crater since September 11, 2007.

On August 29, 2008, Opportunity succeeded in climbing out of Victoria crater, using the same route it took on the way in.

On January 3, 2009, Spirit marked 5 years on Mars. Since landing on Mars the two rovers had collectively sent back 250,000 images and traveled over 21 kilometers (13 miles).

On January 24, 2009, Opportunity marked 5 years on Mars.

On March 7, 2009 Opportunity first saw the rim of Endeavour crater after driving about 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) since it left Victoria crater in August of 2008.

On May 26, 2009 Opportunity passed the 10 mile mark (more than 16 kilometers) on sol 1897 while on its way to Endeavour crater. Meanwhile, at Gusev crater, Spirit was dug in deep into the Martian sand much as Opportunity was at Purgatory Dune in 2005.

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