Hilltop Panorama Marks Opportunity’s 11th Anniversary

s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity gained from the transcend of the  Hilltop Panorama Marks Opportunity's 11th Anniversary

A panorama from 1 of the highest elevations that NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached inward its xi years on Mars includes the States of America flag at the summit. The stance is from the transcend of “Cape Tribulation,” a raised department of the rim of Endeavour Crater. The panorama spans the interior of the 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) crater together with extends to the rim of some other crater on the horizon. Opportunity has driven 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers) since it landed inward the Meridiani Planum portion of Mars on Jan. 25, 2004 (Universal Time, which was Jan. 24, PST). That is further than whatever other off-Earth surface vehicle has driven.

The rover’s run on Mars was initially planned for 3 months. During that prime number mission together with for to a greater extent than than a decade of bonus functioning inward extended missions, Opportunity has returned compelling bear witness well-nigh moisture environments on ancient Mars.

Opportunity has been exploring Endeavour’s western rim since 2011. From a depression segment of the rim that it crossed inward mid-2013, called “Botany Bay,” it climbed well-nigh 440 feet (about 135 meters) inward elevation to accomplish the transcend of Cape Tribulation. That’s well-nigh eighty per centum the pinnacle of the Washington Monument.

The States of America flag is printed on the aluminum cable guard of the rover’s stone abrasion tool, which is used for grinding away weathered stone surfaces to give away fresh interior cloth for examination. The flag is intended every bit a memorial to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center inward New York. The aluminum was recovered from the site of the Twin Towers inward the weeks next the attacks. Workers at Honeybee Robotics inward lower Manhattan, less than a mile from World Trade Center, were making the stone abrasion tool for Opportunity together with NASA’s twin Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, inward September 2001.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a sectionalization of the California Institute of Technology inward Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate inward Washington.

Credit: NASA
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