Mars: 'Healed' Spirit rover uncovers a rocky surprise
A picture taken by Spirit's panoramic camera shows the rover's instrument-laden robotic arm next to the Martian rock nicknamed Adirondack. The rock abrasion tool, or RAT, sticks out toward the right, with an American flag visible on a plate.
Scientists declared NASA's Spirit rover completely "healed" on Friday, after the probe suffered computer problems that engineers now say they made worse during their diagnosis. Spirit marked its return to science operations by brushing off the dust from a rock nicknamed Adirondack, revealing a surprisingly dark surface underneath.
Meanwhile, half a world away, the twin Opportunity rover closed in on another geological mystery â€” an outcropping of Martian bedrock called "Snout." At the end of Friday's workday, the six-wheeled robot geologist was about half a yard (meter) away from its target, and roughly 23 feet (7 meters) from its landing platform.
Spirit and Opportunity are the identical halves of an $820 million mission to determine whether ancient Mars could have had liquid water for a long enough time to support the development of life. After a seven-month journey, Spirit landed Jan. 3 in the...