10 Cool Facts About The Mars Opportunity Rover
10 Cool Facts About The Mars Opportunity Rover
The Mars Opportunity Rover is NASA’s robot that has been on Mars since 2004. In fact, Opportunity has exceeded NASA’s operation plans by more than 11 years.
The Mars Opportunity Rover has been gathering scientific data and sending it back to Earth for over a decade.
Opportunity has been studying meteorites for a long time and the Victoria Crater for over 2 years. It has also survived countless dust-storms and has recently reached the Endeavor Crater back in 2011.
Here are the top 10 Cool Facts about the Mars Opportunity Rover.
Mars Opportunity Rover Facts #10: The Search for Water
The Mars Opportunity Rover has been working hard to find soils and rocks in an effort to find clues to any kind of past water activity in Mars.
NASA is planning to use Opportunity for the next Martian Winter to perform research in order to find outcrops that feature clay minerals.
Opportunity has been extensively used to measure any clues to a past presence of water. The rover has been so successful that NASA is now getting tons of panoramic views of Mars’s surface and of new craters which hadn’t been previously discovered.
Mars Opportunity Rover Facts #9: Studying Mars’ Geology
The Mars Opportunity Rover has been used to search for data throughout Mars’ geological terrain.
Countless work has been done trying to determine the composition, as well as the distribution of rocks, minerals and soils on Mars.
The Mars Opportunity Rover is also learning about the geologic processes that have being shaping Mars’ local terrain for countless years.
Wind erosion, volcanism, cratering and water erosion are just some of these geologic processes. By and large, Opportunity will try to find out whether any environment was conducive to life at any point in Mars’ past.
Mars Opportunity Rover Facts #8: Information for the Future
Opportunity is working hard to gather data about the habitability of Mars and its history.
Though the rover cannot detect life directly, it has been very helpful over time finding data about the likelihood of life on Mars.
After landing on an impact crater by chance, Opportunity has been gathering information about rock and soil samples and even taking panoramic photos of the surrounding areas.
Mars Opportunity Rover Facts #7: An Intact Meteorite
Opportunity discovered an intact meteorite on Mars’s surface in 2005. This meteorite is also called the Heat Shield Rock.
In fact, the rover discovered this meteorite wholly by chance near its discarded heat shield.
Here’s something interesting, this is the first meteorite to be found on another planet.
This meteorite is mostly composed of iron and nickel. Opportunity could have drilled the meteorite but NASA’s scientists thought that this could damage the rover’s drilling tools.
Mars Opportunity Rover Facts #6: Dangerous Trips
The Mars Opportunity Rover has been involved in dangerous trips while performing its duties on Mars’ surface.
For example, the rover landed on a sand dune with several of its wheels ending up buried in the sand.
NASA then spent 6 weeks designing a plan to help the robot get out of trouble without damaging the rover.
Mars Opportunity Rover Facts #5: Amnesia, huh?
Though Opportunity has been doing a terrific job for NASA, the rover has been suffering from “amnesia” from time to time.
What this means is that Opportunity has failed to store telemetry data to its non-volatile memory.
NASA knows that Opportunity has a failing memory bank and the rover’s software has been re-programmed to ignore this situation, but the problem still occurs generating frequent resets.
As a result, Opportunity has been set up to work on its RAM-only mode.
Mars Opportunity Rover Facts #4: Ancient Wet Environments
If you love astronomy or space travel, there’s good news for you. Opportunity found ancient liquid environments on Mars, which means that life, was possible there.
In the future, humans might travel and colonize Mars if Opportunity finds more evidence that water was present in its past.
Sending Opportunity to Mars was just a preparation for something bigger, as NASA plans to send a human mission to Mars in the 2030s.
Mars Opportunity Rover Facts #3: Sleeping Beauty
It’s funny, but Opportunity has to “sleep” every night so that the rover can continue with its job.
Right now, Opportunity can’t store images in its memory. Today, NASA is downloading the data before Opportunity “goes to bed”.
Opportunity’s mission was planned to last only 3 months and the rover has done a great job during this time. Opportunity is gathering tons of evidence that Mars once had water and maybe even life.
Mars Opportunity Rover Facts #2: The Longest Distance
Because Opportunity has done such a great job, an asteroid was named after this rover.
The Mars Opportunity Rover has now surpassed Lunokhod 2, which traveled roughly 24 miles on the Moon, as the rover with the most miles traveled.
Opportunity has since traveled around 26 miles on Mars and only increasing its mileage every day.
In addition to this, Opportunity can take pictures from its many cameras. One of its cameras has a feature that allows it to take a shot with color filters, like on Instagram.
Mars Opportunity Rover Facts #1: Clues and Priceless Images
The Opportunity Rover found hematite, which is a mineral that gives clues to water on Mars. The Mars Opportunity Rover has done a wonderful job for NASA and humanity as a whole in our search for the existence of water and extraterrestrial life.
Opportunity has also found minerals that need a lot of interaction with water to be produced, which gives more hope on finding evidence that life once existed on Mars.
Scientists believe that Opportunity landed on a site that was once a salty sea. Opportunity has been transmitting tons of useful data and priceless images from Mars.
In fact, NASA didn’t expect the rover to be so success, Opportunity has made groundbreaking discoveries while on Mars and keeps scientists busy with new data nightly.
Opportunity has discovered evidence of ancient liquid environments on Mars, even President Obama got excited and has said it’s important to send humans to Mars by 2030.