On This Day in Space! Jan. 3, 2004: Spirit Rover Lands on Mars

On Jan. 3, 2004, NASA’s Spirit rover landed on Mars!

The Spirit rover, also known as Mars Exploration Rover 2, this was the first of NASA’s twin Mars rovers to land on the Red Planet. The other was named Opportunity. These rovers were designed to last just 90 days on Mars, but Spirit lasted more than six years! It’s mission ended in 2011 after the rover got stuck in deep Martian sand. 

It touched down at the Gusev crater, where scientists believed to be an old lake bed that was once filled with water. NASA named the landing site Columbia Memorial Station to honor the astronauts who were killed in the Columbia shuttle disaster less than a year earlier. 

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Source: space.com