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Topic: NASA’s Spirit Rover

NASA reports Mars Opportunity Rover to perform flash memory reformat

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – An increasing frequency of computer resets on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has prompted the rover team to make plans to reformat the rover’s flash memory.

The resets, including a dozen this month, interfere with the rover’s planned science activities, even though recovery from each incident is completed within a day or two.

Flash memory retains data even when power is off. It is the type used for storing photos and songs on smart phones or digital cameras, among many other uses.

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity captured this view southward just after completing a 338-foot (103-meter) southward drive, in reverse, on Aug. 10, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity captured this view southward just after completing a 338-foot (103-meter) southward drive, in reverse, on Aug. 10, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover sets Off World Driving Distance Record

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover, which landed on the Red Planet in 2004, now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles (40 kilometers) of driving, and is not far from completing the first extraterrestrial marathon. The previous record was held by the Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 2 rover.

“Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world,” said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance.”

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, working on Mars since January 2004, passed 25 miles of total driving on July 27, 2014. The gold line on this map shows Opportunity's route from the landing site inside Eagle Crater (upper left) to its location after the July 27 (Sol 3735) drive. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS)

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, working on Mars since January 2004, passed 25 miles of total driving on July 27, 2014. The gold line on this map shows Opportunity’s route from the landing site inside Eagle Crater (upper left) to its location after the July 27 (Sol 3735) drive. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS)

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NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity explores aluminum mineral rich area on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – With its solar panels their cleanest in years, NASA’s decade-old Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is inspecting a section of crater-rim ridgeline chosen as a priority target due to evidence of a water-related mineral.

Orbital observations of the site by another NASA spacecraft, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, found a spectrum with the signature of aluminum bound to oxygen and hydrogen. Researchers regard that signature as a marker for a mineral called montmorillonite, which is in a class of clay minerals called smectites.

This scene from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity catches "Pillinger Point," on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, in the foreground. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

This scene from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity catches “Pillinger Point,” on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, in the foreground. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

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NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity takes image of it’s shadow on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Late afternoon lighting produced a dramatic shadow of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity photographed by the rover’s rear hazard-avoidance camera on March 20th, 2014.

The shadow falls across a slope called the McClure-Beverlin Escarpment on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, where Opportunity is investigating rock layers for evidence about ancient environments. The scene includes a glimpse into the distance across the 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) crater.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity caught its own silhouette in this late-afternoon image taken by the rover's rear hazard avoidance camera on March 20th, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity caught its own silhouette in this late-afternoon image taken by the rover’s rear hazard avoidance camera on March 20th, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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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 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 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 Exploration Rover is on the move again heading toward Rock Layers

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is trekking to a new study area still many weeks away. Soon the rover will celebrate its 10th Anniversary of leaving Earth.

The destination, called “Solander Point,” offers Opportunity access to a much taller stack of geological layering than the area where the rover has worked for the past 20 months, called “Cape York.” Both areas are raised segments of the western rim of Endeavour Crater, which is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its panoramic camera (Pancam) to acquire this view of "Solander Point" during the mission's 3,325th Martian day, or sol (June 1st, 2013). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its panoramic camera (Pancam) to acquire this view of “Solander Point” during the mission’s 3,325th Martian day, or sol (June 1st, 2013). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

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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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NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity begins 10th year of service

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, one of the twin rovers that bounced to airbag-cushioned safe landings on Mars nine years ago this week, is currently examining veined rocks on the rim of an ancient crater.

Opportunity has driven 22.03 miles (35.46 kilometers) since it landed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars on January 24th, 2004, PST (January 25th, Universal Time).

As NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity neared the ninth anniversary of its landing on Mars, the rover was working in the 'Matijevic Hill' area seen in this view from Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam). (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.)

As NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity neared the ninth anniversary of its landing on Mars, the rover was working in the ‘Matijevic Hill’ area seen in this view from Opportunity’s panoramic camera (Pancam). (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.)

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