The Mars science Laboratory (Curiosity) has been capturing the Mars bylines in the news lately. It’s easy to forget there is another rover up there still doing science. The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is very much alive and well, as well as can be expected anyway after all this time on the red planet.
Opportunity is going to celebrate the soon to be the 10 anniversary of starting it’s trip to Mars by getting ready to move to and study a new area called “Solander Point”.
Yes, I know the MER Spirit is up there too but that particular rover has given its all for science plus there are various parts and pieces from ill-fated missions but they don’t count.
PASADENA, Calif. – Approaching its 10th anniversary of leaving Earth, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is on the move again, trekking to a new study area still many weeks away.
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.
“Getting to Solander Point will be like walking up to a road cut where you see a cross section of the rock layers,” said Ray Arvidson of Washington University, St. Louis, deputy principal investigator for the mission.