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A Boeing Delta 2 rocket carrying the first MER spacecraft, named Spirit, lifts off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on June 10, 2003.
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Image courtesy NASA.

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

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission is now underway. Twin robotic vehicles bound for Mars were successfully launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The rovers, which will explore the geology of Mars in search of signs of water, are scheduled to land on Mars in January 2004.

The first MER spacecraft, named Spirit, blasted off on June 10, 2003. It is slated to land within Gusev Crater on Mars. The second MER, called Opportunity, lifted off July 7, 2003. It will explore the Meridiani Planum region of The Red Planet. Both spacecraft rode into space atop Boeing Delta II launch vehicles.

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