NASA’s OpportunityMars rover has actually now been checking out the Red Planet for more than 14 years.
The robotic landed in Meridiani Planum on the night ofJan 24, 2004 (PST). (It wasJan 25 in the GMT time zone, however Opportunity’s handlers operate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, so the rover’s turning points are normally commemorated on California time.)
Originally planned to work for simply 90 days on the Martian surface area, the maker is still travelling, continuing its winter season exploration of Perseverance Valley on the west rim of EndeavourCrater [See Mars photos by Spirit and Opportunity]
Opportunity landed a couple of weeks after its twin, Spirit, which likewise far surpassed its guarantee. Spirit last interacted with Earth in 2010 and was stated dead a year later on.
Flight- software application upgrade
OnSol (Martian day) 4977–Jan 23, 2018– Opportunity got its newest variation of flight software application. This was copied over the older fallback variation in preparation for an upgrade arranged for later on in the year.
OnSol 4970 (Jan 16, 2018), wind cleaned up the dust off Opportunity’s solar selections, a welcome occasion that takes place typically at this time of year. Researchers continue to utilize the rover’s robotic arm, Alpha Particle X-RaySpectrometer (APXS) and Microscopic Imager (MI), NASA authorities stated.
Opportunity has actually moved along the north fork of one circulation channel in PerseveranceValley The rover invested a number of sols taking some images– stereo shots, color panoramas and targeted 13- filter imaging– and taking a trip to chosen surface area targets for closer examination.
Batteries: Signs of aging
Earlier in the month, ground controllers ready and performed a test of the Zero Degree Heater (ZDH) on the rover’s batteries.
“Opportunity’s batteries have performed very well over the mission’s lifetime but are showing some signs of aging. [The] Martian environment is quite cold, and it was suspected that warming the battery during the recharge process may make the battery … more effective and [make it] degrade slower,” stated a current upgrade published by the objective group.
Opportunity had actually never ever utilized the ZDH in the past, so care was required, the rover’s handlers stated.
“Since it has never been turned on in flight, we wanted to be very cautious before using it operationally, and so a testing campaign was formulated. The first, original test in this campaign was to turn it on briefly, manually (as opposed to thermostatically), and in a controlled and recoverable (in the case of a fault) setting,” the upgrade kept in mind. “This test was executed in the morning of Sol 4964 (Jan. 10, 2018) and appears to have been successful.”
Since goal on Mars, Opportunity’s overall journey now stands at over 28 miles (45 kilometers). No human car has actually taken a trip further on the surface area of another world.
LeonardDavid is author of “Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet,” released by NationalGeographic The book is a buddy to the National Geographic Channel series “Mars.” A long time author forSpace com, David has actually been reporting on the area market for more than 5 years. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. This variation of the story released on Space com.