Mars Rover Opportunity Trekking Toward More Layers | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 07.21.14--CLICK HERE! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 07.21.14 **
** Airborne 07.18.14--CLICK HERE! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 07.18.14 **
** Airborne 07.16.14--CLICK HERE! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 07.16.14 **

Tue, Jun 11, 2013

Mars Rover Opportunity Trekking Toward More Layers

Still Operational Nearly 10 Years After Leaving Earth

Approaching its 10th anniversary of leaving Earth, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is on the move again, trekking to a new study area still many weeks away. The destination, called "Solander Point," offers Opportunity access to a much taller stack of geological layering than the area where the rover has worked for the past 20 months, called "Cape York." Both areas are raised segments of the western rim of Endeavour Crater, which is about 14 miles in diameter.

"Getting to Solander Point will be like walking up to a road cut where you see a cross section of the rock layers," said Ray Arvidson of Washington University, St. Louis, deputy principal investigator for the mission.
 
Solander Point also offers plenty of ground that is tilted toward the north, which is favorable for the solar-powered rover to stay active and mobile through the coming Martian southern-hemisphere winter. "We're heading to a 15-degree north-facing slope with a goal of getting there well before winter," said John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, project manager for the Mars Exploration Rover Project. The minimum-sunshine days of this sixth Martian winter for Opportunity will come in February 2014.
 
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project launched twin rovers in 2003: Spirit on June 10 and Opportunity on July 7. Both rovers landed in January 2004, completed three-month prime missions and began years of bonus, extended missions. Both found evidence of wet environments on ancient Mars. Spirit ceased operations during its fourth Martian winter, in 2010. Opportunity shows symptoms of aging, such as loss of motion in some joints, but continues to accomplish groundbreaking exploration and science.

Shortly before leaving Cape York last month, Opportunity used the rock abrasion tool, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the microscopic imager on its robotic arm to examine a rock called "Esperance" and found a combination of elements pointing to clay-mineral composition. "The Esperance results are some of the most important findings of our entire mission," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, principal investigator for the mission. "The composition tells us about the environmental conditions that altered the minerals. A lot of water moved through this rock."
 
Cape York exposes just a few yards, or meters, of vertical cross-section through geological layering. Solander Point exposes roughly 10 times as much. Researchers hope to find evidence about different stages in the history of ancient Martian environments. The rim of Endeavour Crater displays older rocks than what Opportunity examined at Eagle, Endurance, Victoria and Santa Maria craters during the first eight years of the rover's work on Mars.

(Images provided by NASA)

FMI: www.nasa.gov

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 07.21.14: Koontz' Barber Award, ESA Spaceplane, Model Flyers Fight FAA

Also: Boeing's 787-9 Demo, Hartzell's TBM Wonder-Prop, More Santa Monica Maneuvering, Garmin Global Pilot, Even more TSA Stupidity Greg Koontz has been named the recipient of this >[...]

Airborne 07.18.14: MH17 Shootdown Tragedy, ForeFlight Update, Honoring Apollo 11

Also: UK To OSH--By Microlight, On The Eve of Oshkosh 2014, FAA OKs SpaceX TX Launch Site, Extra-Capacity Q400 NextGen Details of the shoot down of MH17 are changing rapidly and ve>[...]

FAA Grants Re-Issues Hawker Beechcraft STC To Flyht

Covers AFIRS for 700/800/900 Models The FAA has granted a re-issued a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the Hawker Beechcraft 700/800/900 model aircraft to Flyht Aerospace So>[...]

OSH2013, Day One, Revisited: ICON, Pelton, Cessna, SubSonex, BendixKing

Also: Jam-Packed Opening Day Promises That "This Isn't Over" in EAA v FAA Fight ICON Aircraft has been granted a waiver by the FAA to allow a maximum gross takeoff weight to sixtee>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (07.22.14)

Diamond Aviators Association The Diamond Aviators Association (the DAA) is a membership organization established to educate, promote the safety of, and support the owners and pilot>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC