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Mars Exploration Rover team members.

By studying the rock record, Spirit and Opportunity have confirmed that water was long standing on the surface of Mars long ago. That finding is helping scientists to understand whether Mars ever could have been a habitit for life.

New knowledge from the twin rovers uniquely contibutes to meeting the four overarching goals of the Mars Exploration Program, while complementing data gathered through other Mars missions:

Goal 1 banner graphic: 'Determine whether Life ever arose on Mars'
Goal 1 graphic On Earth, life needs water to survive. It is likely, though not certain, that if life ever evolved on Mars, it did so in the presence of a long-standing supply of water. On Mars, we will therefore search for evidence of life in areas where liquid water was once stable, and below the surface where it still might exist today.
Mission Design
Mission Results
What the rovers were designed to study.
What the rovers have discovered.
Goal 2 banner graphic: 'Determine whether Life ever arose on Mars'
Goal 2 graphic A top priority in our exploration of Mars is understanding its present climate, what its climate was like in the distant past, and the causes of climate change over time.
Mission Design
Mission Results
What the rovers were designed to study.
What the rovers have discovered.
Goal 3 banner graphic: 'Determine whether Life ever arose on Mars'
Goal 3 graphic As part of the Mars Exploration Program, we want to understand how the relative roles of wind, water, volcanism, tectonics, cratering, and other processes have acted to form and modify the Martian surface.
Mission Design
Mission Results
What the rovers were designed to study.
What the rovers have discovered.
Goal 4 banner graphic: 'Determine whether Life ever arose on Mars'
Goal 4 graphic Eventually, humans will most likely journey to Mars. Getting astronauts to the Martian surface and returning them safely to Earth, however, is an extremely difficult engineering challenge. A thorough understanding of the Martian environment is critical to the safe operation of equipment and to human health.
Mission Design
Mission Results
What the rovers were designed to study.
What the rovers have discovered.
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