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A Boeing Delta 2 rocket carrying Spirit blasts off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on June 10, 2003.
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Image courtesy NASA.

Mars Exploration Rovers Blast Off
News story originally written on July 10, 2003

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) are on their way to Mars. MER are two robotic rover vehicles that will explore the Red Planet. Spacecraft carrying MER blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The rovers will explore the geology of Mars, in search of signs of water. MER will search for types of rocks that form when water is around. If everything goes well, the two spacecraft will land on Mars in January 2004.

The two rovers are named Spirit and Opportunity. Spirit blasted off on June 10, 2003. Opportunity was launched on July 7, 2003. Delta II rockets made by Boeing boosted the robots into space. It will take the spacecraft about six months to get to Mars.

Last modified July 8, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA