NASA’s Opportunity Mars ROVER will drive down a ravine cut long prior by a liquid that may have been water, as per the most recent arrangements for the 12-year-old mission. No Mars ROVER has done that before.
The longest-avtive ROVER on Mars additionally will, surprisingly, visit the interior of the crater it has worked beside for the last five years. These exercises are a piece of a two-year broadened mission that started Oct. 1, the most up to date in a progression of augmentations backtracking to the end of Opportunity’s prime mission in April 2004.
Opportunity dispatched on July 7, 2003 and arrived on Mars on Jan. 24, 2004 (PST), on an arranged mission of 90 Martian days, which is proportional to 92.4 Earth days.
“We have now exceeded the prime-mission duration by a factor of 50,” noted Opportunity Project Manager John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. “Milestones like this are reminders of the historic achievements made possible by the dedicated people entrusted to build and operate this national asset for exploring Mars.”
Opportunity starts its most recent developed mission in the “Bitterroot Valley” divide of the western edge of Endeavor Crater, a bowl 14 miles (22 kilometers) in measurement that was exhumed by a meteor affect billions of years back. Opportunity achieved the edge of this hole in 2011 after over seven years of examining a progression of littler cavities. In those holes, the meanderer discovered confirmation of acidic old water that splashed underground layers and at times secured the surface.
The gully picked as the following real goal cuts west-to-east through the edge about a large portion of a mile (not exactly a kilometer) south of the ROVER’s current position. It is about the length of two football fields.
“We are confident this is a fluid-carved gully, and that water was involved,” said Opportunity Principal Investigator Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. “Fluid-carved gullies on Mars have been seen from orbit since the 1970s, but none had been examined up close on the surface before. One of the three main objectives of our new mission extension is to investigate this gully. We hope to learn whether the fluid was a debris flow, with lots of rubble lubricated by water, or a flow with mostly water and less other material.”
The group expects to drive Opportunity down the full length of the ravine, onto the hole floor. The second objective of the stretched out mission is to contrast shakes inside Endeavor Crater with the predominant sort of shake Opportunity analyzed on the fields it investigated before achieving Endeavor.
“We may find that the sulfate-rich rocks we’ve seen outside the crater are not the same inside,” Squyres said. “We believe these sulfate-rich rocks formed from a water-related process, and water flows downhill. The watery environment deep inside the crater may have been different from outside on the plain — maybe different timing, maybe different chemistry.”
The ROVER team will confront challenges keeping Opportunity dynamic for an additional two years. Most onboard systems still working well, however Motors and different parts have far surpassed their expected life. Opportunity’s twin, Spirit, lost utilization of two of its six wheels before capitulating to the frosty of its fourth Martian winter in 2010. Opportunity will confront its eighth Martian winter in 2017.