Martian crater provides reminder of Apollo moonwalk

June 19, 2017
Credit: NASA

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity passed near a young crater this spring during the 45th anniversary of Apollo 16's trip to Earth's moon, prompting a connection between two missions.

Opportunity's science team informally named the Martian feature "Orion Crater." The name honors the Apollo 16 , Orion, which carried astronauts John Young and Charles Duke to and from the surface of the moon in April 1972 while crewmate Ken Mattingly piloted the Apollo 16 command module, Casper, in orbit around the moon. Orion is also the name of NASA's new spacecraft that will carry humans into deep space and sustain them during travel beyond Earth orbit.

Opportunity's Panoramic Camera (Pancam) took component images for this view of Orion Crater on April 26, 2017. The crater is about 90 feet (27 meters) wide and estimated to be no older than 10 million years.

"It turns out that Orion Crater is almost exactly the same size as Plum Crater on the moon, which John Young and Charles Duke explored on their first of three moonwalks taken while investigating the using their ," said Opportunity science-team member Jim Rice, of the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona.

Rice sent Duke the Pancam mosaic of Mars' Orion Crater, and Duke responded, "This is fantastic. What a great job! I wish I could be standing on the rim of Orion like I was standing on the rim of Plum Crater 45 years ago."

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BubbaNicholson
1 / 5 (1) Jun 19, 2017
Astronauts should ditch the current spaceship control interface and develop apps for their iPhones to run everything on the ship instead. Wifi would doubtless simplify things and doing without all the stupid levers and switches would save a lot of weight.
Spacesuits should be roomy enough to allow the astronaut to bathe inside it, handle their iPhone interface, and the suits should be transparent for longer journeys. Privacy should be left on earth in the interest of health and safety. One loose fece could end the mission.

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