The launch of the Spirit rover on 10 June 2003 marked the beginning of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission, which continues to this day with the Opportunity rover.
Spirit took some of the clearest images of the red planet - including the above photo, at the time the highest quality image of another world. It also undertook numerous scientific tests, and traveled extensively near and around its landing area.
In early 2009 the rover became stuck in a sand trap and could not be freed by its NASA controllers. It ceased communication almost a year later on March 22, 2010, and NASA officially ended the Spirit program on May 24, 2011. Opportunity rover, which landed in January 2004, is still active.
Source: NASA via Wikimedia Commons
- 2003-06-10 The Spirit Rover is launched, beginning NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission
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