Like geologists examining the surface of the Earth, scientists send robots called ‘Rover explorers’ on Mars. These rovers examine different locations on Mars and find out information about the planet. The Mars explorer rovers help scientists by collecting data about Mars to ensure that future missions to the planet are safe and successful. They collect information about the air quality, presence of water, the type of minerals in the soil and send it back to Earth. This science poster will show kids all about the interesting robot rovers on Mars!
Sojourner was the first Mars explorer rover, that arrived on Mars in July 1997. Described by NASA as a micro rover, it arrived with the Pathfinder mission and landed on an ancient flood plain called Ares Vallis. It carries out scientific experiments with front and rear cameras and other tools.
Spirit and Opportunity were the twin Mars explorer robot rovers to land in January 2004. Their mission was to scan the physical and chemical composition of different locations across the Martian surface and determine whether water was always present on the planet. They looked for evidence of life on the planet. Spirit and Opportunity continued to work for several years after exceeding their original 90-day mission. Spirit died in 2011 and Opportunity in 2018.
Curiosity was launched in November 2011 and is still active on Mars. About the size of a small SUV, one of its goals is to prepare for human exploration on Mars. Curiosity had traveled 21.8 km (13.5 miles) in Gale crater where it landed.
With the help of all these Mars explorer rovers, hopefully, the first manned mission to Mars will be a huge milestone for mankind!
To learn more about Mars, check out Smore Magazine for ages 8+.