The Mars Rovers

a group photo of the cartoon versions of all five Mars rovers

Mars is a fascinating planet. It’s icy cold and covered in reddish dust and dirt. Like Earth, it has volcanoes, gullies, and flat plains. Scientists can also see channels that look like they were carved by rivers and streams a long, long time ago. Over the years, we’ve sent four robotic vehicles, or rovers, to learn more about Mars. And NASA scientists are planning to send one more in just a few years!


Meet the Team:

Click on each card below to find out what we’ve learned from each Mars rover.


a card with a cartoon version of the Sojourner rover and some facts about the rover
a card with a cartoon version of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers and some facts about the rovers
a card with a cartoon version of the Curiosity rover and some facts about the rover
a card with a cartoon version of the Mars 2020 rover and some facts about the rover

Why are rovers so important?

Since the 1970s, scientists have been sending spacecraft to Mars. Several different types of spacecraft have been sent to the Red Planet over the years, and they all have different specialties. One type, called orbiters, orbit Mars, taking pictures as they zoom around the planet. Other spacecraft, called landers, provide photos and information from their landing spots on the surface of Mars.

Rovers have wheels and specialize in moving around. They land on the surface of Mars and drive around to different spots.

Rovers help scientists in their quest to understand what different parts of the planet are made of. Mars is made up of lots of different types of rocks, and each rock is made up of a mixture of chemicals. A rover can drive around to different areas, studying the different chemicals in each rock. These chemicals can tell scientists something about the environments that changed that rock over time.

article last updated March 9, 2017
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