Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Rover Opportunity Rolls Onto Martian Ground

Date:
February 2, 2004
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drove down a reinforced fabric ramp at the front of its lander platform and onto the soil of Mars' Meridiani Planum this morning.

This image captured by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's rear hazard-identification camera shows the now-empty lander that carried the rover 283 million miles to Meridiani Planum, Mars.
Credit: Image NASA/JPL

January 31, 2004 -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drove down a reinforced fabric ramp at the front of its lander platform and onto the soil of Mars' Meridiani Planum this morning.

Related Articles


Also, new science results from the rover indicate that the site does indeed have a type of mineral, crystalline hematite, that was the principal reason the site was selected for exploration.

Controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory received confirmation of the successful drive at 3:01 a.m. Pacific Standard Time via a relay from the Mars Odyssey orbiter and Earth reception by the Deep Space Network. Cheers erupted a minute later when Opportunity sent a picture looking back at the now-empty lander and showing wheel tracks in the martian soil.

For the first time in history, two mobile robots are exploring the surface of another planet at the same time. Opportunity's twin, Spirit, started making wheel tracks halfway around Mars from Meridiani on Jan. 15.

"We're two for two! One dozen wheels on the soil." JPL's Chris Lewicki, flight director, announced to the control room.

Matt Wallace, mission manager at JPL, told a subsequent news briefing, "We knew it was going to be a good day. The rover woke up fit and healthy to Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run,' and it turned out to be a good choice."

The flight team needed only seven days since Opportunity's landing to get the rover off its lander, compared with 12 days for Spirit earlier this month. "We're getting practice at it," said JPL’s Joel Krajewski, activity lead for the procedure. Also, the configuration of the deflated airbags and lander presented no trouble for Opportunity, while some of the extra time needed for Spirit was due to airbags at the front of the lander presenting a potential obstacle.

Looking at a photo from Opportunity showing wheel tracks between the empty lander and the rear of the rover about one meter or three feet away, JPL's Kevin Burke, lead mechanical engineer for getting the rover off the lander, said "We're glad to be seeing soil behind our rover."

JPL's Chris Salvo, flight director, reported that Opportunity will be preparing over the next couple days to reach out with it robotic arm for a close inspection of the soil.

Gray granules covering most of the crater floor surrounding Opportunity contain hematite, said Dr. Phil Christensen, lead scientist for both rovers' miniature thermal emission spectrometers, which are infrared-sensing instruments used for identifying rock types from a distance. Crystalline hematite is of special interest because, on Earth, it usually forms under wet environmental conditions. The main task for both Mars Exploration Rovers in coming weeks and months is to read clues in the rocks and soil to learn about past environmental conditions at their landing sites, particularly about whether the areas were ever watery and possibly suitable for sustaining life.

The concentration of hematite appears strongest in a layer of dark material above a light-covered outcrop in the wall of the crater where Opportunity sits, Christensen said. "As we get out of the bowl we're in, I think we'll get onto a surface that is rich in hematite," he said.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Images and additional information about the project are available from JPL at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov and from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., at http://athena.cornell.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Rover Opportunity Rolls Onto Martian Ground." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040202072354.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2004, February 2). NASA Rover Opportunity Rolls Onto Martian Ground. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040202072354.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Rover Opportunity Rolls Onto Martian Ground." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040202072354.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crowdfunded Moon Mission Offers To Store Your Digital Memory

Crowdfunded Moon Mission Offers To Store Your Digital Memory

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) Lunar Mission One is offering to send your digital memory (or even your DNA) to the moon to be stored for a billion years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Accidents Ignite Debate on US Commercial Space Travel

Accidents Ignite Debate on US Commercial Space Travel

AFP (Nov. 19, 2014) Serious accidents with two US commercial spacecraft within a week of each-other in October have re-ignited the debate over the place of private corporations in the exploration of space. Duration: 02:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lunar Mission One Could Send Your Hair to The Moon

Lunar Mission One Could Send Your Hair to The Moon

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) A British-led venture called Lunar Mission One plans to send a module to the moon with keepsakes from Earth. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) tells you how to get your photos and DNA onboard. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins