NASA's Opportunity rovercompletes 12 years on Mars
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.