Friday, January 24, 2014

NASA's Opportunity Rover - 10 Years Out & Still Making Landmard Martian Discoveries

NASA's Opportunity rover landed on Mars January 24, 2004  and has driven 24 miles from where it landed ten years and going on its ninety day original mission.  

Opportunity's controllers have the rover examining the rim of the Endeavor Crater, halfway around the planet from NASA's latest Mars rover, Curiosity.   In 2010, Opportunity detected evidence  of a clay mineral known as iron-rich smectite.   This was significant because the material was found in geological layers laid down before the formation of the Endeavor crater about 4 billion years ago.   Where the smectite was found in the geologic strata tells researchers that Mars was much warmer and wet much earlier in Mar's history. 

NASA reports that Opportunity's health hasn't changed much in the last year.  Researchers are confident that the hardy rover is capable of much more.  From the NASA article:
  • "Over the past decade, Mars rovers have made the Red Planet our workplace, our neighborhood," said John Callas, manager of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project, which built and operates Opportunity. "The longevity and the distances driven are remarkable. But even more important are the discoveries that are made and the generation that has been inspired."
Read the complete NASA article HERE

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