Friday, August 12, 2011

Rover Opportunity Reaches Endeavor Crater: On Mars

Although we must admit that we have been wrapped up in the affairs of Dawn and Vesta ever since the beginning of the summer; have we noticed, yet, Mars and its new visitor? Opportunity arrived on Mars after a trek of more than three years to the Martian surface. It started its journey in August of 2008, at the Victoria crater, and finally reached the Endeavor crater just last August 9. It took about three years to get around 21 kilometers...  and its mission: to reveal the never-seen-before rocks of the Endeavor crater.

Endeavor crater

"NASA is continuing to write remarkable chapters in our nation's story of exploration with discoveries on Mars and trips to an array of challenging new destinations," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "Opportunity's findings and data from the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory will play a key role in making possible future human missions to Mars and other places where humans have not yet been."

When Opportunity learns more and relays information back to us, much more will be perceived about these extraterrestrial rocks. NASA hopes that it will see much older objects than seen before on Opportunity's seven year exploration time; this started on account of the Mars's Reconnaissance Orbiter detecting clay minerals that have supposed to been formed when water flowed on the Martian surface.

"We're soon going to get the opportunity to sample a rock type the rovers haven't seen yet," said Matthew Golombek, Mars Exploration Rover science team member, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "Clay minerals form in wet conditions so we may learn about a potentially habitable environment that appears to have been very different from those responsible for the rocks comprising the plains."

The view from Opportunity

NASA: Imagery taken after Opportunity arrived at Endeavour will be released on NASA's website and NASA Television as soon as available on Wednesday. For more information about the rover and a color image as it approached the crater, visit: and .

1 comment:

  1. To clarify...from NASA

    Yes, this is correct. It took Opportunity nearly three years to get from Victoria crater to Endeavour crater. There are many things to see and study along the way, and many observations to be made. The science team made the rover take pictures, study rocks and soil at many spots in the path to get to Endurance crater. This time period also includes the months in Martian winter when the rover is "parked" for several months catching the sun's rays and in hibernation mode.