What were the life spans of all 4 rovers that were sent to Mars? By 4 rovers i mean Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity and Curiosity?

Which of them 4 had maximum and minimum lifetime span?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome, one of the life spans is still growing ! $\endgroup$
    – Cornelis
    Sep 16, 2019 at 12:58

1 Answer 1


Sojourner was planned to be a seven day mission, but ended up having a life span of 83 days, about 12 times its designed life.

The rover was deployed the evening of July 5, 1997, and its last transmission was received via Pathfinder at 10:23 UTC on September 27, 1997.

Spirit was planned to be a 90-sol (about 92 days) mission, but ended up having a life span of 2269 days. After 1944 days it ceased to be mobile after it got stuck in soft sand, but it continued to do science as a stationary platform. Whichever way you look at it, it lasted over 20 times its designed life.

Spirit landed on Mars at 4:35 UTC (Earth-received time) on January 4, 2004. It got stuck in the sand on May 1, 2009, and then sent its last transmission March 22, 2010.

Like its twin Spirit, Opportunity was planned to be a 90-sol (about 92 days) mission, but ended up having a life span of 5250 days, over 55 times its designed life!

Opportunity landed on Mars on January 25, 2004 at 5:05 UTC spacecraft local time. It sent its last transmission June 10, 2018.

Curiosity was planned to be a two year mission. Its primary mission ended after 668 sols (687 days), but it has continued to operate for a total lifetime of 2597 days so far. It has already survived 3 times its designed life, and since its mission was extended indefinitely it may continue to operate for some time.

Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6, 2012 at 5:17 UTC spacecraft local time.

In summary, the top lifespan is currently held by Opportunity at 5250 days, and Sojourner had the lowest lifespan at 83 days. However, even Sojourner exceeded its designed lifespan.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Interesting to note that the first rover was designed to last a week, but after it lasted months the next rovers were designed to last months. When they lasted years, the next rover was designed to last years. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Sep 16, 2019 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe Sojourner's operations log doesn't always indicate when driving occurs, so I may not be able to get precise. mars.nasa.gov/MPF/ops/rover.html $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Sep 16, 2019 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe I count six days where it is explicitly noted that the rover stayed at a certain feature or had no operations that day. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Sep 16, 2019 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ How can a time be both UTC and local (except at the prime meridian)? $\endgroup$ Sep 16, 2019 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ @DennisWilliamson It's a way of indicating if the time referenced is before or after the speed of light delay in communication: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacecraft_Event_Time $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Sep 16, 2019 at 21:25

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