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Thread: Rover Landing Times

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    Rover Landing Times

    This is something I thought of last night and haven't been able to answer since to my satisfaction.
    The two rovers are on opposite sides of the planet correct? So why did the two of them land around the same time of day on Earth? If they're on opposite sides of the planet shouldn't one have landed at midnight and one at noon?
    I was thinking the half hour extra per day on Mars might have something to do with it so you wouldn't be in quite the same spot (a 20-ish day difference times a half hour is ten hours etc).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Opportunity landed earlier in the (Mars) afternoon than Spirit did. If I remember correctly, Spirit landed pretty close to nightfall.

    By the way, here's a great Java Applet on the NASA/Goddard site that allows you to figure the times for both rovers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Mars' day is 24.62 hours long (because it rotates a tad slower than earth), so while each day on mars starts at the same time really, we see it as starting a little bit later each day. That's why the Mars rover teams have their own special timetable, which starts .62 of an hour later, each day!

    Also Opportunity landed "earlier" than Spirit did. (They both landed on the side of mars where it was daylight at the time)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    The time difference between the two sites is about 12 hours, give or take a few minutes.

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