New Mars rover snapshots capture Endeavour crater vistas

Aug 22, 2011
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity looked across a small crater on the rim of a much larger crater to capture this raw image from its panoramic camera during the rover's 2,685th Martian day, or sol, of work on Mars (Aug. 13, 2011). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has captured new images of intriguing Martian terrain from a small crater near the rim of the large Endeavour crater. The rover arrived at the 13-mile-diameter (21-kilometer-diameter) Endeavour on Aug. 9, after a journey of almost three years.

Opportunity is now examining the ejected material from the small crater, named "Odyssey." The rover is approaching a large block of ejecta for investigation with tools on the rover's robotic arm.

Opportunity and Spirit completed their three-month prime missions on Mars in April 2004. Both rovers continued for years of bonus, extended missions. Both have made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life. Spirit ended communications in March 2010.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its panoramic camera to capture this raw image looking across Endeavour crater during the rover's 2,686th Martian day, or sol, of work on Mars (Aug. 14, 2011). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU


Explore further: SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

Related Stories

Opportunity heads toward 'Spirit Point'

Jun 09, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- When NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reaches the rim of a large crater it is approaching, its arrival will come with an inspiring reminder.

Opportunity passes small crater and big milestone

Jun 06, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A drive of 482 feet (146.8 meters) on June 1, 2011, took NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity past 30 kilometers (18.64 miles) in total odometry during 88 months of driving on Mars. That's ...

Opportunity studying a football-field size crater

Dec 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- On Dec. 16, 2010, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reached a crater about the size of a football field-some 90 meters (295 feet) in diameter. The rover team plans to use cameras and ...

Rover arrives at new site on martian surface

Aug 10, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- After a journey of almost three years, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached the Red Planet's Endeavour crater to study rocks never seen before.

Image: Mars Rover Sees Distant Crater Rims on Horizon

May 03, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has captured a new view of the rim of Endeavour crater, the rover's destination in a multi-year traverse along the sandy Martian landscape.

Opportunity rover halfway point reached

Sep 09, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- When NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity left Victoria Crater two years ago this month, the rover science team chose Endeavour Crater as the rover's next long-term destination. With ...

Recommended for you

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

Apr 18, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

Apr 18, 2014

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

Apr 18, 2014

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

User comments : 9

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

krwhite
5 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
Those must be some incredible batteries.
david_42
5 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
The life-cycles of the batteries is certainly a factor, but the very slow degeneration of the photovoltaic panels that keep the batteries charged was the big surprise.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
The slow rate of charge and discharge, and a shallow Depth of Discharge, and the extreme cold all play a factor in prolonging the life of the batteries.

A lithium battery might last for 500 cycles when drained fully each time, but 5000 cycles when only the top 10% is used between recharges, where a "cycle" is the energy of one full discharge. Even then the battery is not completely dead, but will have approximately 60-70% of its capacity remaining.

Similiarily, if the battery is maintained close to full, it will lose 20% a year at 25 degrees Celsius, but only 5% at 0 degrees. If the lithium battery is kept roughly half full, it will age 3-5 times slower.

The short lifetime of batteries in consumer appliances is mostly due to the batteries running much too hot, and the people not knowing how to keep them properly. (Or they just don't care)
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
The life-cycles of the batteries is certainly a factor, but the very slow degeneration of the photovoltaic panels that keep the batteries charged was the big surprise.


As I understood, it was assumed that the panels would be covered in dust within months or couple years, but as luck would have it there has been enough gusts of wind to periodically sweep the panels clean.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
And then there's the fact that the manufacturer may choose to add built-in obsolescence by charging the batteries to a higher cell voltage. It's possible to gain roughly 10-15% more capacity that way, but it dramatically reduces the cycle life of the battery.
xznofile
not rated yet Aug 22, 2011
A moot point now, but I still can't see why they didn't put dust wipers on the solar collectors. If they knew that would be the limiting factor for the length of the mission, at an extra million $, it seems like a really cheap trade for extended data collection.
hard2grep
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
its a very fine dust; like talcum powder. which might easily be wiped off if it wer not for charges. Such small particles easily get into the scratches of that once polished surface. While the air is thin, the speeds can be quite dry and gusty on Mars.
scidog
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
lets hope the batteries last here,it looks like the most impressive place yet.that big rock,i wish they would give us a size,looks filled with layers of something.i don't think the wipers issue has to do with bucks as much as weight.there was some talk about a cell phone microphone going along so we could hear mars but got left because of the weight issue.
Maxter
5 / 5 (1) Aug 23, 2011
the thing is: when they go ask for money to fund the project, they need to say that the mission will be short to keep the cost low. Then you build and extremely robust robot and you say you are "surprised" that it lastest so long. Then you go ask for fund a second time to extend the mission.

It's easier to get fund to extend a mission then to get fund to build a new mission.

More news stories

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...