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Spirit Launch
Spirit Launch (click to enlarge)

Spirit Launch
Date: 10 Jun 2003

A trail of smoke is all that identifies the Delta II rocket with the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit aboard as it hurtles into space. Liftoff occurred on time at 1:58 p.m. EDT from Launch Complex 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Spirit was the first of two rovers launched to Mars in the summer of 2003. Spirit and its twin, Opportunity, landed on opposite sides of the planet in January 2004.

The rovers see sharper images, can explore farther and examine rocks better than anything that has ever landed on Mars. Spirit's destination was Gusev Crater, which appears to have been a crater lake.

Image Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

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