NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity makes 5000th Martian Dawn

NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Is Sending Back an Ancient Slab of a Martian Meteorite to Use as Target Practice

NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Is Sending Back an Ancient Slab of a Martian Meteorite to Use as Target Practice

With data from the rovers, mission scientists have reconstructed an ancient past when Mars was awash in water.

Opportunity's photos reveal that dirt and gravel have been arranged into apparent stripes, perhaps by wind, downhill tumbling, repeated cycling of freezing and thawing over the eons, or a combination of these factors, rover team members said. During this event, the frozen water at Mars's poles vaporizes fast and falls down back to Mars as snow or frost which accumulates around the planet's Equator.

Saturday, February 17 marked the 5000th local day (sol) of operations for NASA's Mars Opportunity rover, which was originally created to last for just 90 sols after its January 2004 landing date, but has instead continued to set milestones like completing a marathon-length tour of its surroundings and taking huge composite photos of its new world's surface.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is seen at the site from which it reached down to drill into a rock target called "Buckskin" on lower Mount Sharp in this low-angle self-portrait taken August 5, 2015 and released August 19, 2015. After minor adjustments and re-orientation, NASA controllers were able to calibrate the rover and it has since been working commendably. And in March 2015, the Opportunity officially reached the distance run in a marathon race, traveling 42.195 kilometers, or 26.219 miles.

The rock will part of the 2020 Mars rover mission where it will be blown up to test the calibration process for the rover's hyper-sensitive laser measurement device, dubbed "SHERLOC". The agency never thought that the rover would survive fierce Martian winters, but it did, and not just one but eight seasons.

The following is a NASA statement on a recent Opportunity discovery.

An artist's conception of Opportunity on Mars. The rover has since traveled to its present location on Endeavor Crater's western slope, about one-third of the distance down Perseverance Valley, a shallow channel cut from the crest of the rim on the floor of the crater. "Perseverance Valley is a special place, like having a new mission again after all these years,"f said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis". It's mysterious. It's exciting.

"We already knew it was unlike any place any Mars rover has seen before, even if we don't yet know how it formed, and now we're seeing surfaces that look like stone stripes", Arvidson added. "I think the set of observations we'll get will enable us to understand it". Well, the scientists have not detected the origin of the whole valley yet.

On the other hand, researchers have previously observed that Mars is tilting once every several hundreds of thousands of years.

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