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January 16, 2014

Free Mars Exploration Rover 10-Year Anniversary Event Tonight

Artist's Concept of Rover on Mars
Artist's Concept of Rover on Mars

An artist's concept portrays a NASA Mars Exploration Rover on the surface of Mars. Two rovers were launched in 2003 and arrived at sites on Mars in January 2004. Each rover was built to have the mobility and toolkit for functioning as a robotic geologist.

Image and Caption

The public is invited to share, either in person or online, in a 10-year anniversary event for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), Spirit and Opportunity, tonight at 7 p.m. PST (10 p.m. EST). The event, hosted by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., is being held in the Beckman Auditorium on the California Institute of Technology campus, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena. Admission is free and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

NASA's twin rovers launched separately in 2003 and landed three weeks apart in January 2004. They completed their three-month prime missions in April 2004 and went on to perform extended missions for years. Spirit and Opportunity made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life. Although Spirit ceased communicating with Earth in March 2010, the Opportunity rover continues its work on the Red Planet.

The participants include, among others:
-- Charles Elachi, director, JPL
-- Steve Squyres, professor of astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover mission
-- John Callas, project manager, Mars Exploration Rover Project, JPL
-- Bill Nye, chief executive officer of the Planetary Society, Pasadena, Calif.

The event will be streamed live on the Web at: .

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. For more information on the rovers and the Mars Exploration Program, visit

JPL is managed for NASA by Caltech.


Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

NEWS RELEASE: 2014-013