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The photo book of Opportunity


It was the second of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers land on Mars (a few weeks before had landed Spirit). After one decade on the Red Planet is still in good condition. It is at 3559 ° sol (Martian day) mission, after driving 38.7 kilometers from the landing day and it is facing his sixth Martian winter at Solander Point.

Opportunity

The first-timer Opportunity arrival on Mars. The solar panels shine with sunlight on the upper part of its landing platform.

Credit: NASA / JPL-CALTECH

Launched on July 7, 2003, NASA’s rover Opportunity arrived on Mars on January 24, 2004 in Meridiani Planum region, inside Eagle crater. It was initially planned for a mission of only three months, but still working at full capacity and in its first 10 years of the mission sent over 187,000 images to Earth. Opportunity was the second of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers land on Mars. Just some weeks ago, NASA had celebrated the landing of MER -A Spirit on the other side of the planet in Gusev Crater. Spirit, who turned out the 10 candles on January 4, had to interrupt his mission in 2009 after being stuck in a sand trap.

What scientists have discovered with the Mars missions, including Curiosity (launched in 2011) – to name just one of nearly 40 missions to the Red Planet – Mars have had oceans that were able to harbor life. The discovery was made ​​by a group of researchers led by the University of Washington in St. Louis and published in the pages of Science. Among other important observations that of the first meteorite fell on another planet (Heat Shield Rock) , the analysis of Victoria Crater and the study of Endeavour crater, reached in the summer of 2011 and still in progress.

Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity (MER -B) – this is the full name of the mission – has recently returned to be talked about for an event that experts have yet to give an explanation: a mysterious rock appeared, within 12 days, in front of the rover. She was named Pinnacle Island, is bright and looks like a donut. The mysterious rock on Mars was not observed in other previous photos of the same scene. The photo with the mysterious stone was shown by Steve Squyres of Cornell University and head of the instruments on the Mars rovers just during the event for 10 years on Mars Opportunity at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In a comparison of recent photographs taken by the rover to 12 days after experts working in the mission found a surprise. “We said, wait a minute, this rock was not there before, it cannot be true. We were absolutely amazed, “noted Squyres. So far we have advanced several theories about the origin of the stone: the rover could have launched the object during a roll maneuver or the stone could be rolled from a nearby rock or have been thrown there by the impact of a meteorite fell in the vicinity, but this assumption, however, is the least likely.

Opportunity 2

The mysterious rock next to Opportunity. The two photos from NASA, the first taken in December 2013, the second a few days later in the first week of January 2014

Credit: NASA / JPL-CALTECH

Opportunity, after 10 years of “hard work” on Mars, is in good condition and its mission will certainly continue for a few more years. It is at 3559 ° sol (Martian day ) mission , after driving 38.7 kilometers from the landing day and is facing his sixth Martian winter at Solander Point, south of Cape York and Matejivic Hil .

“The more you explore Mars, the more interesting it becomes. These results are another gift that just happens to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Opportunity on Mars, “said Michael Meyer, lead scientist of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA. Opportunity is the longest operational mission on the Red Planet. On 19 May 2010, in fact, surpassed the record for longevity, until then held, on Mars, by the Viking 1 probe with 6 years and 116 days (2245 G).

Opportunity 3

In this image captured by the Pancam mounted on the rover Opportunity is seen “looking around”. The photo dates back to January 26, 2004.

Credit: NASA / JPL-CALTECH

Opportunity 4

The shield of Opportunity.

Credit: NASA / JPL-CALTECH

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