NASA's Op­por­tu­nity rover­com­pletes 12 years on Mars

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

DOWN TO EARTH N A S A' S O P P O R T U N I T Y rover ac­com­pol­ished a record of sorts in Jan­uary when it com­pleted 12 years on Mars. The rover, weigh­ing 185 kg, landed on Mars on Jan­uary 24, 2004, a few weeks af­ter its twin, Spirit, landed. The two ro­bots were tasked with find­ing signs of past wa­ter ac­tiv­ity on Mars, and both of them quickly turned up plenty of ev­i­dence near their dis­parate land­ing sites. Spirit and Op­por­tu­nity were orig­i­nally sup­posed to ex­plore for just 90 days, but both far out­lasted their warranties. Spirit stopped com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Earth in 2010 and was de­clared dead a year later, and Op­por­tu­nity is still go­ing strong. Cur­rently, it is look­ing for clues about Mars' en­vi­ron­men­tal his­tory us­ing a di­a­mond-toothed rock grinder.


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