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January 15, 2009

Watch, Listen and Celebrate Five Years on Mars

This is a small portion of a long horizontal image that shows a sweeping view of sand drift- and rock-covered terrain all around the rover. The camera pans from the front edge of the rover's solar panels on the left to a ridge leading away into adjacent hills on the right.
This is a partial view of Spirit's 'Everest' panorama.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell
Full image and caption
Five years after landing on Mars in January 2004, the twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are still studying the Red Planet. They were originally planned as three-month missions. Catch up with the rovers via the following multimedia products:

--Two lectures, one from the rovers' principal investigator and the other from the team's project manager, will be held on Thurs., Jan. 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. both nights. Details about the lectures can be found at

--Rover team members, including the science principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University, share the thrills and challenges in a video at:

--Rover Project Manager John Callas of JPL discusses the rovers' lives, longevity and legacy at:

--Astronaut E. Michael Finke, commander of the Expedition 18 crew currently orbiting Earth in the International Space Station, has sent a video message congratulating the scientists and engineers of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity landing on Mars. This video plays at:

The intrepid rovers have made many discoveries about historically wet and violent environments on ancient Mars. They have climbed a mountain, descended into craters, struggled with sand traps and aging hardware, survived dust storms, and relayed more than a quarter million pictures back to Earth.

A variety of Los Angeles-area public events are being held to mark the rovers' five-year anniversary, including a lecture that will be streamed live. Information at: .