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 October 30, 2014 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 October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Observers near Wallops Island recorded what they thought would be a routine rocket launch Tuesday night. What they recorded was a major rocket explosion shortly after lift off. (Oct 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Just hours after an American cargo run to the International Space Station ended in flames, a Russian supply ship has arrived at the station with a load of fresh supplies. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Journalist Captures Moment of Antares Rocket Explosion

Journalist Captures Moment of Antares Rocket Explosion

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 29, 2014) A space education journalist is among those who witness and record the explosion of an unmanned Antares rocket seconds after its launch. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Explosion Under Investigation

Rocket Explosion Under Investigation

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) NASA and Orbital Sciences officials say they are investigating the explosion of an unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station. It blew up moments after liftoff Tuesday evening over the launch site in Virginia. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
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