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NASA extends Mars rover missions again
Posted: Wed, Apr 6, 2005, 7:15 AM ET (1115 GMT)
Mars Exploration Rover (NASA/JPL) NASA announced Tuesday that it has extended the mission of the highly successful Mars Exploration Rovers for up to 18 more months. The twin rovers, named Spirit and Opportunity, have been on the Martian surface since January 2004 and continue to function well despite initial plans to operate for only 90 days. The rovers' mission has been extended twice before; the current extension will last up to 18 months, depending on the health of the spacecraft. Opportunity, in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars, is approaching a region called "Etched Terrain" where wind erosion may have exposed bedrock. Spirit, on the other side of Mars in Gusev Crater, is climbing Husband Hill within the crater. NASA did not disclose the cost of the mission extension; the last extension, in September, cost NASA $2.8 million a month.
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