Mars as you’ve never see it before: Opportunity finally arrives at rim of giant crater for one last adventure
Months after the death of the Mars rover Spirit, its surviving twin has reached the rim of a vast crater to begin its final and most important exploration.
Opportunity will now examine rocks older than any it has seen in its seven years on the surface of the red planet, Nasa scientists said last night.
The solar-powered, six-wheel rover arrived at the 14mile-wide Endeavour crater after driving 13miles from a smaller crater named Victoria.
The journey, which took nearly three years culminated on Tuesday when Opportunity signalled it had arrived at the location dubbed Spirit Point in honour of the rover’s twin, which fell silent last year.
‘We’re there,’ said project manager John Callas of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Opportunity and Spirit landed on opposite sides of Mars in 2004 and used their instruments to discover geologic evidence that the cold and dusty planet was once wet.
Craters can provide windows into the planet’s past because layers of material from long-ago eras are exposed.