5 January 2010
2010: Keeping Busy on Mars
A new generation of Mars explorers are in the works for launch windows in 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile, NASA's sturdy Mars fleet continues to break records. This month marks the Opportunity rover's seventh year operating on Mars. In May, the rover broke the surface operation record of six years and 116 days set by Viking 1. Efforts continue to contact Opportunity's twin, Spirit, which stopped communicating with Earth nine months ago.
In orbit, NASA's Mars 2001 Odyssey marked its 3,340th day circling the Red Planet in December 2010, breaking a record set by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, which orbited Mars from 1997 to 2006. Two other spacecraft -- Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Express are keeping tabs on Mars from orbit.
Here's how Mars looked to these hardworking spacecraft in 2010 (7 images total):