The Legacy of Spirit: 5 Major Contributions to Mars Science

Dr. Tanya Harrison
10 min readJun 10, 2023
Rocket launching from Cape Canaveral with the NASA and Mars Exploration Rover logos on the side
The Spirit rover launch. Image credit: NASA

20 years ago today on on June 10, 2003, NASA’s Spirit rover lifted off from Cape Canaveral and began its 7-month journey to Mars. It left Earth one month before its twin, Opportunity as part of the collective “Mars Exploration Rovers” mission. At that time, only one rover had successfully operated on the surface of Mars*—the microwave-sized Sojourner, which arrived in 1997 onboard the…

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Dr. Tanya Harrison

Professional Martian who's worked on rocks and robots on the Red Planet on multiple NASA Mars missions