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January 23, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Updated Mission Status

Artist's concept of the Mars Exploration Rover
Artist's concept of the Mars Exploration Rover
The flight team for NASA's Spirit received data from the rover in a communication session that began at 13:26 Universal Time (5:26 a.m. PST) and lasted 20 minutes at a data rate of 120 bits per second.

"The spacecraft sent limited data in a proper response to a ground command, and we're planning for commanding further communication sessions later today," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager Pete Theisinger at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The flight team at JPL had sent a command to Spirit at 13:02 Universal Time (5:02 PST) via the NASA Deep Space Network antenna complex near Madrid, Spain, telling Spirit to begin transmitting.

Meanwhile, the other Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity is on course to land halfway around Mars from Spirit, in a region called Meridiani Planum, on Jan. 25 (Universal Time and EST; Jan. 24 at 9:05 p.m. PST).

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Additional information about the project is available from JPL at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov and from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., at http://athena.cornell.edu .

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Guy Webster (818) 354-5011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Donald Savage (202) 358-1547
NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE: 2004-30

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