Gusev Crater, the landing site for one of the two Mars Exploration Rovers. The yellow oval shows where scientists expect the rover to land.
Click on image for full size

Mars Rover Landing Sites Selected
News story originally written on April 25, 2003

NASA will soon send two robotic rovers to Mars. The rovers are the main part of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. Rockets carrying the two rovers will be launched from Earth in May and June of 2003. The rovers will arrive on Mars in January 2004.

NASA just made the final decision about where on Mars each rover will land. NASA scientists are interested in places on Mars that might have had water. They think places that had water are the best places to search for signs of life. The two rovers will land at places where water may have been.

One rover will land in a large meteorite crater called Gusev Crater. It looks like Gusev Crater once had a large lake inside it. The other lander will touch down at a place called Meridiani Planum. Meridiani Planum seems to have a bunch of hematite in the area. Hematite is a mineral that often forms in wet places, especially hot springs. So both landing sites seem like places that once had water. Maybe the rovers will find signs of life there!

Last modified April 28, 2003 by Randy Russell.

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Galileo Reaches the End of its Road

The Galileo spacecraft has finally reached the end of its road. Galileo has been orbiting Jupiter since 1995. On September 21, 2003, Galileo will dive into Jupiter's atmosphere and burn up. This crash...more

Mars Rover Landing Sites Selected

NASA will soon send two robotic rovers to Mars. The rovers are the main part of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. Rockets carrying the two rovers will be launched from Earth in May and June of...more

A Perfect Place for Penguins!

Scientists have recently discovered that thousands of Adelie Penguins thrive in patches of the chilly Southern Ocean near Antarctica's coastline. In these special areas of the ocean, called polynyas,...more

Triggers of Volcanic Eruptions in Oregon's Mount Hood Investigated

Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. "The data will help give us a better road map to what a future...more

Oldest Earth Mantle Reservoir Discovered

The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core, and makes up about 84 percent of the Earth's volume. The mantle is made up of many distinct portions or...more

Its Not Your Fault A Typical Fault, Geologically Speaking, That Is

Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults, causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults in a new way to figure out why. In theory,...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

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