Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: James Rice

Dr. Jim W. Rice, Jr., is an Astrogeologist at the Planetary Science Institute, he has over 25 years research experience specializing on the surface geology and history of water on Mars. Dr. Rice is currently a Co-Investigator and Geology Team Leader on the Mars Exploration Rover Project (Spirit and Opportunity). Rice also has extensive mission experience as Associate Project Scientist on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey Orbiter Projects. He has been involved in Mars landing site selection and certification activities for every NASA Mars Mission since Mars Pathfinder. His career includes working for NASA, Astrogeology Headquarters of the United States Geological Survey, the Mars Spaceflight Facility located at Arizona State University and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory located at the University of Arizona.

Articles By James Rice

  • What’s in a name? Mars 2020 wouldn’t know, it doesn’t have one – yet

    December 30th, 2019

    NASA's Mars 2020 rover is on the verge of traveling to the Red Planet and beginning its search for evidence of Martian life. But it's missing something very important.

  • Inside Opportunity: Oppy still silent

    November 1st, 2018

    Dr. Jim Rice has provided this latest update from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. Has the rover been silenced forever?

  • Inside Opportunity: Oppy still silent as dust storm begins to settle

    September 1st, 2018

    It has been a long 80 days. We last heard from our rover on the slopes of Perseverance Valley back on June 10. However, we are continuing to listen diligently every day during our programmed fault communication windows, as well as through the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver. So far however - nothing.

  • Inside Opportunity: As dust storm continues to rage Oppy sleeps

    July 28th, 2018

    Our Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover, situated at the Red Planet's Perseverance Valley located on the western inner rim of Endeavour Crater, continues to remain silent due to the ongoing global dust storm. The storm has placed 'Oppy' into a mode designed to protect her in instances just like the one the golf cart-sized rover is currently enduring.

  • Inside Opportunity: ‘Oppy’ fights for its life in massive Martian dust storm

    July 1st, 2018

    Our intrepid Opportunity rover is currently in the midst of riding out a massive global dust storm that began May 30. This storm moved south down the well-known Acidalia storm track into Xanthe Terra. A few days later the storm had stretched from eastern Valles Marineris to northern Arabia Terra. It then moved across the equator and south toward Meridiani Planum where Opportunity is located.

  • Inside Opportunity: South!

    October 4th, 2016

    The Mars Exploration Rover "Opportunity" is continuing its epic journey across Mars. It has discovered some interesting features along the way – as the science team honors the robotic geologist's predecessors.

  • Inside Opportunity: Red (Planet), White and Blue

    July 4th, 2016

    The United States leads the way in terms of exploring the planet Mars, and Mars Exploration Rover team member Jim Rice shares his personal experiences as the nation marks its 240th anniversary.

  • Inside Opportunity: Dust devils, high-altitude clouds, and sulfur-rich soils

    June 2nd, 2016

    Since my last update, Opportunity has traveled 100 meters westward up a slope in Marathon Valley to continue our search for the elusive phyllosilicates (clay minerals) that were detected from orbit by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometers for Mars (CRISM) instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

  • Inside Opportunity: Rover discovers its own ‘Easter eggs’ at Knudsen Ridge

    March 28th, 2016

    PASADENA, Calif. — Since Opportunity celebrated her 12th anniversary on Mars back on the night of Jan. 24, our tenacious rover and science team have been occupied exploring the environs of Knudsen Ridge. This geological formation comprises the southern wall of Marathon Valley, which is located along the western rim of Endeavour Crater. It also has kept Opportunity, the team who operates her, and myself, very busy.

  • Inside Opportunity: Twelve years and counting…

    January 25th, 2016

    Twelve years ago today on Jan. 25, 2004, was the day that MER-B, Opportunity, was scheduled to land on the Red Planet. Before the many milestones and discoveries that the robotic geologist would make could occur, it had to survive seven minutes of atmospheric entry.

  • Inside Opportunity: In the land of plenty

    October 25th, 2015

    Winter is Coming! Opportunity is on the floor of Marathon Valley, located on the western rim of Endeavour Crater on the surface of Mars. She is continuing a valley floor survey for clay minerals (phyllosilicates). Marathon Valley is some 320 meters long and up to 100 meters wide – and it is just the latest location that Opportunity has visited since the robot landed in January 2005.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: 50 years since the first full Saturn V test fire

    April 16th, 2015

    Fifty years ago, on April 16, 1965, the full power of the Saturn V was felt for the first time in a test stand firing of the cluster of five F-1 first stage (S-IC) engines at NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center located in Huntsville, Alabama. The five F-1 engines burned for 6.5 seconds and produced 7.5 […]

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: 50 years since the launch of Gemini 3

    March 23rd, 2015

    The United States’ first dual crew member mission, Gemini 3, lifted off fifty years ago on Tuesday March 23, 1965, at 9:24 a.m. Eastern time from Launch Complex 19 in Cape Canaveral, FL. This was just 5 days after the Soviet Alexei Leonov’s first spacewalk.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: 50 years of EVA, Alexei Leonov steps into the black

    March 18th, 2015

    Fifty years ago today, March 18, the first person in human history conducted an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) which took him outside the safe confines of their spacecraft. Alexei Leonov, a cosmonaut with the former Soviet Union, achieved this milestone in human history when he exited his Voskhod spacecraft. The feat occurred during a time when the race […]

  • ESA’s Rosetta mission poised to ‘harpoon’ a comet

    November 11th, 2014

    On Wednesday, Nov. 12, after a journey of nearly 11 years and an estimated 4 billion miles – scientists will attempt its first ever landing upon a comet. This double lobed icy body has been named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and it is about 2.5 miles across. If all goes according to plan, it will be one of the largest […]