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Topic: NASA’s Opportunity Rover

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spots Opportunity Rover on Mars Ridge

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new image from a telescopic camera orbiting Mars shows NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity at work on “Murray Ridge,” without any new impact craters nearby.

The February 14th view from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is available online at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA17941.

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught this view of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on Feb. 14, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught this view of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on Feb. 14, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA’s Opportunity Rover continues to explore Mars after a Decade

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Eighth graders didn’t have Facebook or Twitter to share news back then, in January 2004. Bekah Sosland, 14 at the time, learned about a NASA rover landing on Mars when the bouncing-ball video on the next morning’s Channel One news in her Fredericksburg, Texas, classroom caught her eye.

“I wasn’t particularly interested in space at the time,” she recalled last week inside the spacecraft operations facility where she now works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. “I remember I was talking with friends, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed this thing bouncing and rolling on a red surface. I watched as it stopped and opened up, and it had this rover inside.”

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity observed this outcrop on the "Murray Ridge" portion of the rim of Endeavour Crater as the rover approached the 10th anniversary of its landing on Mars.

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity observed this outcrop on the “Murray Ridge” portion of the rim of Endeavour Crater as the rover approached the 10th anniversary of its landing on Mars.

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NASA’s Mars Rover Teams name sites in Memory of Bruce Murray

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Features on Mars important to the missions of NASA’s two active Mars rovers are now called “Murray Ridge” and “Murray Buttes,” in honor of influential planetary scientist Bruce Murray (1931-2013).

The rover Opportunity, which has been roaming Mars for nearly a decade, is currently climbing Murray Ridge, part of an uplifted crater rim. NASA’s newer rover, Curiosity, is headed toward Murray Buttes as the entryway to that mission’s main destination.

This scene shows the "Murray Ridge" portion of the western rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars. The ridge is the NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's work area for the rover's sixth Martian winter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

This scene shows the “Murray Ridge” portion of the western rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars. The ridge is the NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity’s work area for the rover’s sixth Martian winter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

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NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity starts Solander Point climb

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover has begun climbing “Solander Point,” the northern tip of the tallest hill it has encountered in the mission’s nearly 10 Earth years on Mars.

Guided by mineral mapping from orbit, the rover is exploring outcrops on the northwestern slopes of Solander Point, making its way up the hill much as a field geologist would do. The outcrops are exposed from several feet (about 2 meters) to about 20 feet (6 meters) above the surrounding plains, on slopes as steep as 15 to 20 degrees. The rover may later drive south and ascend farther up the hill, which peaks at about 130 feet (40 meters) above the plains.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured this southward uphill view after beginning to ascend the northwestern slope of "Solander Point" on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured this southward uphill view after beginning to ascend the northwestern slope of “Solander Point” on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover for the first time uses Autonomous Navigation

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has used autonomous navigation for the first time, a capability that lets the rover decide for itself how to drive safely on Mars.

This latest addition to Curiosity’s array of capabilities will help the rover cover the remaining ground en route to Mount Sharp, where geological layers hold information about environmental changes on ancient Mars.

This mosaic of images from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the scene from the rover's position on the 376th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Aug. 27, 2013). The images were taken right after Curiosity completed the first drive during which it used autonomous navigation on unknown ground. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This mosaic of images from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows the scene from the rover’s position on the 376th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Aug. 27, 2013). The images were taken right after Curiosity completed the first drive during which it used autonomous navigation on unknown ground. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Opportunity Rover begins work around Solander Point on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity is studying the area of contact between a rock layer formed in acidic wet conditions long ago and an even older one that may be from a more neutral wet environment.

This geological contact line recording a change in environmental conditions billions of years ago lies at the foot of a north-facing slope, “Solander Point,” that the rover’s operators chose months ago as Opportunity’s work area for the coming Martian southern hemisphere winter.

This view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows an area where a pale-toned geological unit called the "Burns Foundation," in the foreground, abuts a different geological unit. The darker unit, believed to be older, marks the edge of "Solander Point," a raised segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This view from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows an area where a pale-toned geological unit called the “Burns Foundation,” in the foreground, abuts a different geological unit. The darker unit, believed to be older, marks the edge of “Solander Point,” a raised segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to make change to secondary Motion Sensing Unit

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is switching from one motion-sensing device to a duplicate unit onboard.

The veteran orbiter relies on this inertial measurement unit (IMU) for information about changes in orientation. This information is important for maintaining spacecraft attitude and for pointing the orbiter’s large antenna and science-observation instruments.

Artist concept of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL)

Artist concept of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL)

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NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity currently half way to it’s Next Destination, Solander Point

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has driven more than half of the distance needed to get from a site where it spent 22 months to its next destination.

The rover has less than half a mile (800 meters) to go to finish a 1.2-mile (2-kilometer) dash from one crater-rim segment, where it worked since mid-2011, to another, where mission controllers intend to keep Opportunity busy during the upcoming Martian winter.

This view shows the terrain that NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is crossing in a flat area called "Botany Bay" on the way toward "Solander Point," which is visible on the horizon. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This view shows the terrain that NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is crossing in a flat area called “Botany Bay” on the way toward “Solander Point,” which is visible on the horizon. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity surpasses distance traveled record of any NASA offworld vehicle

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – While Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt visited Earth’s moon for three days in December 1972, they drove their mission’s Lunar Roving Vehicle 19.3 nautical miles (22.210 statute miles or 35.744 kilometers).

That was the farthest total distance for any NASA vehicle driving on a world other than Earth until yesterday.

On the 3,309th Martian day, or sol, of its mission on Mars (May 15th, 2013) NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drove 263 feet (80 meters) southward along the western rim of Endeavour Crater. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

On the 3,309th Martian day, or sol, of its mission on Mars (May 15th, 2013) NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drove 263 feet (80 meters) southward along the western rim of Endeavour Crater. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity investigates Rock changed by Water

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is driving to a new study area after a dramatic finish to 20 months on “Cape York” with examination of a rock intensely altered by water.

The fractured rock, called “Esperance,” provides evidence about a wet ancient environment possibly favorable for life. The mission’s principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, said, “Esperance was so important, we committed several weeks to getting this one measurement of it, even though we knew the clock was ticking.”

The pale rock in the upper center of this image, about the size of a human forearm, includes a target called "Esperance," which was inspected by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. Data from the rover's alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) indicate that Esperance's composition is higher in aluminum and silica, and lower in calcium and iron, than other rocks Opportunity has examined in more than nine years on Mars. Preliminary interpretation points to clay mineral content due to intensive alteration by water. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.)

The pale rock in the upper center of this image, about the size of a human forearm, includes a target called “Esperance,” which was inspected by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. Data from the rover’s alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) indicate that Esperance’s composition is higher in aluminum and silica, and lower in calcium and iron, than other rocks Opportunity has examined in more than nine years on Mars. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.)

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