[meteorite-list] Hilltop Panorama Marks Mars Rover's 11th Anniversary
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:33:28 -0800 (PST)
Hilltop Panorama Marks Mars Rover's 11th Anniversary
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
January 22, 2015
A panorama from one of the highest elevations that NASA's Mars Exploration
Rover Opportunity has reached in its 11 years on Mars includes the U.S.
flag at the summit.
The view is from the top of "Cape Tribulation," a raised section of the
rim of Endeavour Crater. The panorama spans the interior of the 14-mile-wide
(22-kilometer-wide) crater and extends to the rim of another crater on
Opportunity has driven 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers) since it landed in
the Meridiani Planum region of Mars on Jan. 25, 2004 (Universal Time,
which was Jan. 24, PST). That is farther than any other off-Earth surface
vehicle has driven. The rover's work on Mars was initially planned for
three months. During that prime mission and for more than a decade of
bonus performance in extended missions, Opportunity has returned compelling
evidence about wet environments on ancient Mars.
Opportunity has been exploring Endeavour's western rim since 2011. From
a low segment of the rim that it crossed in mid-2013, called "Botany Bay,"
it climbed about 440 feet (about 135 meters) in elevation to reach the
top of Cape Tribulation. That's about 80 percent the height of the Washington
The U.S. flag is printed on the aluminum cable guard of the rover's rock
abrasion tool, which is used for grinding away weathered rock surfaces
to expose fresh interior material for examination. The flag is intended
as a memorial to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade
Center in New York. The aluminum was recovered from the site of the Twin
Towers in the weeks following the attacks. Workers at Honeybee Robotics
in lower Manhattan, less than a mile from World Trade Center, were making
the rock abrasion tool for Opportunity and NASA's twin Mars Exploration
Rover, Spirit, in September 2001.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute
of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project
for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information
about Opportunity and Spirit, visit:
You can follow the project on Twitter and on Facebook at:
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster at jpl.nasa.gov
Received on Thu 22 Jan 2015 08:33:28 PM PST