Opportunity Will Celebrate Its 14th Year on Mars (Download PDF)

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NASA’s rover ‘Opportunity’ celebrates 14 years on Mars, almost 14 years longer than planned creating incredible success story in the history of the NASA’s hardware. Opportunity’s remarkable longevity is a huge achievement, but rover is showing signs of its age.

Opportunity's Marathon Journey Image

Opportunity’s Marathon Journey Image

Opportunity’s Marathon Journey Image

Key Facts About ‘Opportunity’

  • Opportunity flew skyward on July 7, 2003, and spent the next several months cruising to its eventual landing site.

  • Robotic traveller touched down on January 25, 2004 and started relaying scientific data about Mars.

  • Rover was only intended to function for 90 days. 14 years later, it’s still carrying out commands from its handlers on Earth.

What Are the Problems Being Faced by ‘Opportunity’?

  • Opportunity’s power storage systems have been outperforming expectations for some time. The batteries have shown signs of degradation, but NASA has a plan to squeeze even more life out of them.

How Do Scientists Plan to Save Batteries of ‘Opportunity’?

  • The rover is equipped with a “Zero Degree Heater” (ZDH) designed to warm the battery if needed.

  • Heating the battery as it recharges may be more efficient and curb degradation due to aging.

  • Mar’s environment is quite cold and it was suspected that warming the battery during the recharge process may make the battery both more effective and degrade slower.

What is ‘Opportunity’?

  • Opportunity, also known as MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover – B) or MER-1, is a robotic rover active on Mars since 2004.

  • Launched on July 7, 2003 as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover program.

  • It landed in Meridiani Planum on January 25, 2004, three weeks after its twin Spirit (MER-A) touched down on the other side of the planet.

What is NASA?

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

About Mars

  • Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury.

  • It is often referred to as the “Red Planet” because of its reddish appearance that is distinctive among the astronomical bodies

- Published/Last Modified on: March 4, 2018

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