Only last 3 months?

Mars rover Opportunity going strong after 10 years despite broken parts and ‘senior moments’ | National Post

LOS ANGELES A decade after landing on Mars, the rover Opportunity is still chugging along.

Sure, it has some wear and tear. One of its six wheels and two instruments stopped working long ago. It has an arthritic joint. Its flash memory occasionally suffers a senior moment.

But these problems are considered minor for a mission that was supposed to be just a three-month adventure.

No one ever expected this that after 10 years a Mars exploration rover would continue to operate and operate productively, project manager John Callas said Thursday.

NASA has scrutinized Earths planetary neighbour for decades, starting with quick flybys and later with orbiters, landers and rovers.

Opportunity touched down on Jan. 24, 2004 several weeks after its twin Spirit. Both rovers outlasted their warranty by years, but Spirit stopped phoning home in 2010 after getting stuck in sand.

Meanwhile, Opportunity has logged 24 miles crater-hopping. The solar-powered NASA rover is now in a sunny spot on the rim of Endeavour Crater where its spending its sixth winter poking into rocks and dirt.

Its power levels have unexpectedly improved. A recent selfie showed dust on its solar panels was later wiped away by blowing winds.

Early discoveries by the two rovers pointed to a planet that was once tropical and moist. However, the signs of water suggested an acidic environment that would have been too harsh for microbes.

More recently, Opportunity uncovered geologic evidence of water at Endeavour Crater thats more suited for drinking a boon for scientists searching for extraterrestrial places where primitive life could have thrived. The crater is the largest of five craters examined by Opportunity.

A new study published by the journal Science Friday on Opportunitys 10th anniversary determined the rocks from the crater are the oldest yet about 4 billion years old. The rocks interacted with water during a time when environmental conditions were favourable for microscopic organisms.

This is really a neat area, said deputy project scientist Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis.

In 2012, Opportunity was joined on Mars by Curiosity, which is currently rolling across bumpy terrain toward a mountain. With snazzy tools like a laser, Curiosity quickly became the worlds favourite rover.
Last edited by Goober; Jan 23rd, 2014 at 06:55 PM..
#2  Top Rated Post
Cool.I thought it had died years ago. OBviously not made in China
lone wolf
Too bad they don't build 'em like that for Earth travel....

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