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What's new on Mars? Watch NASA's news conference, live, right here


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Thursday morning, at 11 a.m. PST, NASA will host a news conference to talk about the Opportunity rover's new discoveries on Mars, and you can watch it live, right here.

Participating in the conference are Michael Meyer of NASA, Steve Squires of Cornell University, John Callas of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis -- all scientists involved with the Mars Exploration Rovers project.

The two rovers, dubbed Opportunity and Spirit, landed on the Red Planet 10 years ago this week. NASA refers to the rovers as "robotic geologists."

While both rovers were originally scheduled for three-month missions, Spirit continued its exploration of Mars for six years before it stopped communicating with Earth in 2010. Opportunity, on the other hand, is still sending back data today; it's currently investigating the rim of a crater 14 miles wide.

Just last week, Opportunity sent back a baffling image of a strange jelly-doughnut-shaped rock that appeared to have materialized out of nowhere on the planet's surface. (In a picture taken in late December it was not there; in a picture taken 12 days later, it was.)

Still, after 10 years of roaming on Mars, scientists told The Los Angeles Times that the rover, launched in 2003, is not as sturdy as it once was. It’s been suffering from arthritis in its mechanisms and a little amnesia in its flash memory.

So while Opportunity has outlasted its 90-day mission about 40 times over, the team isn’t taking the rover for granted.

"The rover could have a catastrophic failure at any moment," John Callas said last June. "So each day is a gift."

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