Fri, Sep 29, 2006
21-Month Journey Marked By Several Stops On The Way
Send a rover over... just don't hold your breath. NASA reported
Thursday the Mars rover Opportunity has finally arrived at the rim
of Victoria Crater... after a 21-month journey.
Let's see.. that's 21 months to travel a little under six miles.
That's about 15,000 hours... divided by six... well, never mind,
it's slow! But slow and steady in this case paid off because
Victoria Crater may hold the keys to many questions about Mars...
especially about evidence of water discovered at Opportunity's
original landing site.
"This is a geologist's dream come true," said Dr. Steve Squyres
of Cornell University, principal investigator for NASA's twin
rovers Opportunity and Spirit. "Those layers of rock, if we can get
to them, will tell us new stories about the environmental
conditions long ago. We especially want to learn whether the wet
era that we found recorded in the rocks closer to the landing site
extended farther back in time. The way to find that out is to go
deeper, and Victoria may let us do that."
Opportunity has been exploring Mars since January 2004... that's
10 times longer than its planned mission length of three
"We're so proud of Opportunity, the rover that 'takes a lickin'
but keeps on tickin','" said Cindy Oda, a Mars rover mission
manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. "It
continues to overcome all challenges despite its aging parts and
difficult terrain. We are looking forward to exciting new
discoveries as Opportunity begins its new adventure exploring
To be fair, we may have exaggerated a little about how slow
Opportunity is. The trek to Victoria Crater included lots of stops
along the way for the rover to inspect interesting rocks and
objects... and let's not forget the five weeks it spent stuck in a sand
drift last year.
That should bring its average speed up to... well, it's still
slow. But we doubt NASA minds.
'Yellow Balls' Discovered By Volunteers Studying Spitzer Images Sometimes it takes a village to find new and unusual objects in space. Volunteers scanning tens of thousands of star>[...]
"While this star formed a long time ago, in fact before most of the stars in the Milky Way, we have no indication that any of these planets have now or ever had life on them. At th>[...]
Final Approach Fix The fix from which the final approach (IFR) to an airport is executed and which identifies the beginning of the final approach segment. It is designated on Gover>[...]
New Global Air Ambulance Research Report Shows Projected Growth Of Nearly Ten Percent The Global Air Ambulance market is expected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of>[...]
Long-Range Sensor System Demonstrated Production Readiness On Super Hornet The F/A-18 Super Hornet infrared search and track (IRST) system, developed and integrated by Boeing and L>[...]