Friday, January 27, 2012

Opportunity - Eight Years Into a 90 Day Mission.....

Nasa rover Opportunity is once again gearing up for another mission.  At the start of its' fifth Martian winter, Opportunity has gained a three year driving destination, Endeavour Crater, at which it arrived to,  in August of 2011. Endeavour is 14 miles in diameter, much larger than the Eagle crater where it started it career.  After exploring Victoria Crater, Opportunity's controllers set the rover's sights on Endeavour.

Of course the 21 miles traveled and Martian dust have not left Opportunity unscathed.   According to the Science Digest article:

  • Its solar panels have accumulated so much dust since Martian winds last cleaned them -- more than in previous winters -- the rover needs to stay on a sun-facing slope to have enough energy to keep active through the winter.
However unlike its' twin Spirit, which stopped communicating  in March 2010, Opportunity's six wheels are healthy enough to allow it to still maneuver.   

Read the complete Science Digest article here 

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