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How did the rovers start their day?

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How did the rovers spend their days on Mars?

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The Rovers at Work


It was a dark and freezing night on Mars. Opportunity was sleeping peacefully. But as the Sun began to shine, the rover woke up to the sound of music playing.


On most mornings on Mars, the rover team at JPL played wake-up music for the rovers. The team picked a song that seemed right for the work plan. For example, one day Opportunity was going to be digging in the soil, so the team played a song called "I Like Dirt." After the wake-up song, Opportunity got started on its long day of work. In this article, you'll find out how the rovers spent their days on Mars.

Looking at Rocks and Soil.


Mars is a very dry planet. The scientists wanted to find out if water had ever flowed there in the past. Why were scientists so interested in water? On Earth, water makes it possible for living things to survive. If there was water on Mars in the past, then maybe there had been life there, too.

Scientists wanted to find out what the rocks and soil on Mars were made of. This would help them figure out if water flowed there long ago. But scientists were also excited to learn anything else they could about the planet.


The two rovers were loaded with tools that would help them study the rocks and soil on Mars. Each day, scientists used the rovers to look around and gather data. Some days, the rovers did a "shoot and scoot." This means that they took photos of a rock or some other object. In this picture the rover is taking a picture of itself. Then they scooted off to check out another spot.

Other days, the rovers did a "touch and go." This means that they did tests on the soil and then rolled away to look at something else.


Sometimes the NASA team told the rovers exactly where to go and how to get there. Other times, the team let the computers on the rovers choose a path. Either way, the rovers moved very slowly and carefully.


The team didn't want the rovers to crash into a rock or get stuck in the sand. Sometimes a rover traveled only a few feet in a whole day. After 16 months on Mars, Opportunity had the record for the longest drive in a single day — about 462 feet (141 meters).

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