Opportunity rover halfway point reached

Sep 09, 2010
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its navigation camera to record this view at the end of a 111-meter (364-foot) drive on the 2,353rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover's mission on Mars (Sept. 6, 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 a drive of 111 meters (364 feet) on Monday, Sept. 8, Opportunity reached the estimated halfway point of the approximately 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) journey from Victoria to the western rim of Endeavour.

Opportunity completed its three-month prime mission on Mars in April 2004. During its bonus extended operations since then, it spent two years exploring in and around .

Victoria is about 800 meters (half a mile) in diameter. At about 22 kilometers (14 miles) in diameter, Endeavour is about 28 times wider. After the rover science team selected Endeavour as a long-term destination, observations of Endeavour's rim by NASA's revealed the presence of clay minerals.

This finding makes the site an even more compelling science destination. Clay minerals, which form exclusively under wet conditions, have been found extensively on Mars from orbit, but have not been examined on the surface.

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User comments : 3

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gwrede
4.7 / 5 (6) Sep 09, 2010
Looking at the phenomenal scientific success of this project, it seems obvious that we should send more rovers to Mars, not men. In 50 to 100 years, technology has advanced sufficiently, that a voyage to Mars (and Titan and Europa) would be practical.

I don't want to see billions spent on a premature voyage to Mars now, and then the first guys dying before getting back home, causing a public outcry that scraps the rest of the project. End result, boat loads of wasted money, and no science.

Using that money for rovers and robots, will advance our knowledge much more.
otto1932
1 / 5 (3) Sep 09, 2010
@gwrede
Miles: Sometimes you gotta say "What the F_ck", make your move. Joel, every now and then, saying "What the F_ck", brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future. So your parents are going out of town. You got the place all to yourself.
Joel Goodson: Yeah.
Miles: What the f_ck.

-Times a-wastin'. No sense sitting on our thumbs around here. Here we're sitting ducks. Out there we got a future.

-enough idioms for ya?
Husky
4 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2010
I am with the robotic missions, as gwrede pointed out they delivered amazing scientific bang for the bucks we put in and since developments and miniturasation of computers, sensors and nanorobotic technology are in an accellerating phase due to demand of sophisticated consumerelectronics we should ride the wave of Moores Law and send even more productive robots up there to a point that we caqn eventually should seeds and nanoreplicators there that build up the infrastructure in advance for colonists to arrive.

The only thing that is appealing to me for a current mars missions is the mandatory requirement for nuclear engines to make it feasable as I think nuclear is the only way to go if mankind is to leave its footsteps across the galaxy