Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA's Opportunity Rover Rolls Free On Mars

Date:
June 7, 2005
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Engineers and mission managers for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission cheered when images from the Martian surface confirmed Opportunity had successfully escaped from a sand trap.

Opportunity's view after maneuvering out of sandtrap.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Engineers and mission managers for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission cheered when images from the Martian surface confirmed Opportunity had successfully escaped from a sand trap.

Related Articles


From about 174 million kilometers away (about 108 million miles), the rover team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., had worked diligently for nearly five weeks to extricate the rover. The long-distance roadside assistance was a painstaking operation to free all six wheels of the rover, which were mired up to their rims in the soft sand of a small martian dune.

"After a nerve-wracking month of hard work, the rover team is both elated and relieved to finally see our wheels sitting on top of the sand instead of half buried in it," said Jeffrey Biesiadecki, a JPL rover mobility engineer.

Traction was difficult in the ripple-shaped dune of windblown dust and sand that Opportunity drove into on April 26. In the weeks following, the rover churned 192 meters (629 feet) worth of wheel rotations before gaining enough traction to actually move one meter (about three feet). The rover team directed the drives in cautious increments from May 13 through June 4.

"We did careful testing for how to get Opportunity out of the sand. Then we patiently followed the strategy developed from the testing, monitoring every step of the way," Biesiadecki said. "We hope to have Opportunity busy with a full schedule of scientific exploration again shortly."

Opportunity's next task is to examine the site to provide a better understanding of what makes that ripple different from the dozens of similar ones the rover easily crossed. "After we analyze this area, we'll be able to plan safer driving in the terrain ahead," said JPL's Jim Erickson, rover project manager.

Both Spirit and Opportunity have worked in harsh martian conditions much longer than anticipated. They have been studying geology on opposite sides of Mars for more than a year of extended missions since successfully completing their three-month primary missions in April 2004.

"The first thing we're going to do is simply take a hard look at the stuff we were stuck in," said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. He is the principal investigator for the Mars rovers' science instruments. "After that, we will begin a cautious set of moves to get us on our way southward again. South is where we think the best science is, so that's still where we want to go."

Shortly after landing in January 2004, Opportunity found layered bedrock that bore geological evidence for a shallow ancient sea. Spirit did not find extensive layered bedrock until more than a year later, after driving more than two miles and climbing into a range of hills known as "Columbia Hills."

Images and information about the rovers and their discoveries are available on the Web at: http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/mer_main.html and http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/mer/.

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/home/index.html.


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's Opportunity Rover Rolls Free On Mars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050607030932.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2005, June 7). NASA's Opportunity Rover Rolls Free On Mars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050607030932.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA's Opportunity Rover Rolls Free On Mars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050607030932.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Eleven years ago NASA&apos;s Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was only supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then it has traveled 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers), further than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has ever driven. Credit to &apos;NASA&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) NASA&apos;s New Horizons probe is en route to snap a picture of Pluto this summer, but making sure it doesn&apos;t miss its one chance to do so starts now. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rosetta Captures Stunning Views, Diverse Data Of Comet 67P

Rosetta Captures Stunning Views, Diverse Data Of Comet 67P

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) The first images of the European Space Agency&apos;s Rosetta probe comet orbit could provide clues about its origin and how it got its unique shape. Video provided by Newsy
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