You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby


Tracks of Opportunity
Tracks of Opportunity


Opportunity’s tracks disappear into the dunes in this raw photo image taken in February, 2009.

After landing on Mars in January of 2004, Opportunity and its sister rover Spirit have been exploring and transmitting data and photos like these for over 5 years now – much longer than their expected “warranty”.

Although there have been difficulties…rough terrain, dusty solar panels, tire problems, pesky Jawas (just kidding)…both rovers are doing well and are expected to keep operating for the foreseeable future.

Opportunity’s next target is Endeavour Crater, another 2 years’ journey across the dunes at its current driving speed. It’s been spending the last few days investigating some rock outcroppings with its rock abrasion tool (RAT), wearing away the weathered outer layers to better investigate the composition beneath.

Here’s to our hardy metal emissaries on the Martian surface, and to many more years of faithful service as well! (And to the team that made it all possible!)

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech