Opportunity image from Navigation Camera on Sol 4266. Credit: NASA/JPL

Opportunity image from Navigation Camera on Sol 4266.
Credit: NASA/JPL

 

Still running after all those years!

NASA’s Opportunity rover landed on Mars 12 years ago this week. The veteran robot touched down on the Red Planet on Jan. 24, 2004, PST (early Jan. 25, UTC).

Opportunity is alive and well, working through the lowest-solar-energy days of the mission’s seventh Martian winter. It has been using a diamond-toothed rock grinder and other tools in recent weeks to investigate clues about the planet’s environmental history.

Opportunity is now exploring the western rim of a 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) crater named Endeavour, doing so since 2011. This winter, the rover is inspecting rocks on the southern side of “Marathon Valley – a feature that slices through Endeavor Crater’s rim from west to east.

A dozen years on Mars. Opportunity Mars rover snagged this image using its Navigation Camera on Sol 4266. Credit: NASA/JPL

A dozen years on Mars. Opportunity Mars rover snagged this image using its Navigation Camera on Sol 4266.
Credit: NASA/JPL

This is a location where observations by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have mapped concentrations of clay minerals that would have formed under wet, non-acidic conditions.

“With healthy power levels, we are looking forward to completing the work in Marathon Valley this year and continuing onward with Opportunity,” said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager, John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

Leave a Reply

Griffith Observatory Event