Opportunity Mars Exploration Mars Exploration Rover. ... retrorockets and the lander was dropped 30 ft to the surface. 2. ... were inflated seconds before

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<ul><li><p>1</p><p>Vehicles</p><p>Mars Operations</p><p>Reference Information </p><p>Assembly, Test and Launch</p><p>Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover</p><p>Status</p></li><li><p>2</p><p>MER and Mars Pathfinder Rovers at JPL</p><p>Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Engineering </p><p>Rover Model</p><p>Spirit</p><p>Spirit and Opportunity during assembly and test at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory shown with the Mars Pathfinder engineering model rover (first to operate on Mars in July 1997).</p><p>Opportunity</p></li><li><p>3</p><p>MER Spacecraft/Rover Stack-upMER-A spacecraft atop the Delta II launch vehicle at Space Launch Complex 17-A, Cape Canaveral, FL.</p><p>MER-A Spacecraft with Spirit Rover in Aeroshell</p><p>Stage III</p><p>Stage II</p><p>Payload Fairing Half</p></li><li><p>4</p><p>MER-B/Opportunity Rover LaunchMER-B spacecraft launched by the Delta II 7925H at Pad 17-B, Cape Canaveral, FL on July 7, 2003.</p></li><li><p>5</p><p>1. The cruise stage of the MER-B spacecraft propelled the vehicle from Earth to Mars. The entry vehicle entered the Martian atmosphere and then the parachute slowed the vehicle during entry, descent, and landing. The lander is a protective shell that enclosed the rover and with the airbags protected the rover from the forces of impact. Descent was halted by retrorockets and the lander was dropped 30 ft to the surface. </p><p>2. Airbags cushioned the spacecraft during landing allowing it to bounce across the Martian surface. The airbags were inflated seconds before touchdown and deflated once safely on the surface.</p><p>1.</p><p>2.</p><p>3.</p><p>3. After the lander stopped bouncing and rolling on the surface, it came to rest on the base of the tetrahedron or one of its three sides. The sides then opened to make the base horizontal and the rover upright. The sides initially opened to an equally flat position, so all sides of the lander were straight and level. The flight team on Earth then commanded the rover to adjust the sides and create a safe path for the rover to drive off the lander and onto the Martian surface.</p><p>Entry Vehicle and Lander</p><p>http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/Rocket_assisted_descent.jpghttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/Rocket_assisted_descent.jpg</p></li><li><p>6</p><p>Rover</p></li><li><p>7</p><p>First Look from Opportunity on MarsJanuary 25, 2004 - Opportunity lands halfway around Mars from Spirit rover</p><p>January 25, 2004 - This mosaic image is one of the first sent to Earth from Opportunity shortly after it landed at Meridiani Planum about 15.5 miles downrange (east) of its intended target. The image was captured by the rover's navigation camera. </p><p>Although Meridiani is a flat plain, without the rock fields seen at previous Mars landing sites, Opportunity rolled into an impact crater 72 ft in diameter and about 6 ft deep, with the rim of the crater approximately 32 ft from the rover. NASA scientists were so excited about landing in the crater that they called the landing a hole in one; however, they were not aiming for the crater (or even knew it existed). Later, the crater was named Eagle Crater and the landing site designated Challenger Memorial Station. The landing site was the darkest ever visited by a spacecraft on Mars. It would be two weeks before Opportunity was able to get a better look at its surroundings. </p></li><li><p>8</p><p>Evidence of Martian Water Discovered</p><p>March 26, 2004 - This image from Opportunity's panoramic camera is an approximate true-color rendering of the rock called the Berry Bowl in the Eagle Crater outcrop. The study of this blueberry-strewn area and the identification of hematite as the major iron-bearing element within these sphere-like grains helped scientists confirm their hypothesis that the hematite in these Martian spherules was deposited in water. </p><p>March 8, 2004 - The first outcrop rock Opportunity examined with the microscopic imager was finely-layered, buff-colored and in the process of being eroded by windblown sand. Embedded and on top of the rock, like blueberries in a muffin, were small spherical grains about 0.06 inches in size. The image shows the gray spheres that have weathered out of the rock and are resting in the darker soil. Through intense investigations with the spectrometers, scientists determined the blueberries are rich in the mineral hematite. On Earth, hematite often forms in the presence of liquid water. These blueberries helped scientists determine that the rocks at Eagle Crater had been soaked in water.</p></li><li><p>9</p><p>Opportunity Finds More Evidence of WaterMarch, 2004 - This image taken by the Opportunity panoramic camera shows the rock called El Capitan, just right of center, in the upper portion of the outcrop in Eagle Crater. El Capitan was a significant find because it provided clues to lead scientists to believe the entire outcrop in Eagle Crater was once covered in water. </p><p>This image shows fine, parallel lamination in the upper area of the rock, that also contains scattered sphere-shaped objects ranging from 0.04 to 0.24 inches in size. There are also more abundant, scattered vugs, or small cavities, that are shaped like discs. These are about 0.4 inches long. The rover's Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer uses infrared detectors to determine the mineral composition of rocks and soil. The spectrometer showed that El Capitan contains a considerable amount of sulfate. The Mssbauer Spectrometer identified the mineral jarosite, which contains water in the form of hydroxyl.</p></li><li><p>10</p><p>Evidence of a Martian Sea Found</p><p>March 23, 2004 - A magnified view of the rock Upper Dells provides evidence that Opportunity sits on the shoreline of what was once a salty sea on Mars. Rippled patterns in the rocks at Meridiani Planum suggest the land was once a salt flat, sometimes covered by shallow water and sometimes dry. Telltale patterns called crossbedding and festooning, in which some layers within a rock lie at angles to the main layers, led scientists to the conclusion that the rippled shapes formed under a current of water and not wind. </p></li><li><p>11</p><p>Eagle Crater Panorama Captured</p><p>April 14, 2004 - Opportunity surveys the dusty plain of Meridiani. This image is an approximate true-color panorama mosaic showing Eagle Crater and some of the surrounding plains of Meridiani Planum. This panorama depicts a story of exploration including the rover's landing craft, a thorough examination of the outcrop, a study of the soils at the near-side of the lander, and a successful exit from Eagle Crater. </p></li><li><p>12</p><p>First Look at Endurance Crater</p><p>May 6, 2004 - This approximate true-color mosaic taken by the Opportunity panoramic camera shows the impact crater Endurance. The crater is about 430 feet in diameter and more than 66 feet deep. Scientists were eager to explore Endurance for clues to Mar's geological history. The crater's exposed walls provided a window to what lies beneath the surface and what geologic processes occurred in the past. The challenge was getting to the scientific targets; most of the crater's rocks are embedded in vertical cliffs. The rover spent six months studying Endurance including descending into the crater and successfully climbing out.</p></li><li><p>13</p><p>July 19, 2004 - This view from the rovers panoramic camera is a false-color composite rendering of the first seven holes that the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) drilled on the inner slope of Endurance Crater. The rover was about 39 feet down into the crater when it acquired the images combined into this mosaic. The view is looking back toward the rim of the crater, with the rover's tracks visible. The tailings around the 1.8 inch diameter holes drilled by the RAT show evidence of fine-grained red hematite similar to what was observed months earlier in Eagle Crater outcrop holes. </p><p>Viewers find it far easier to see the seven holes in this exaggerated color image than in true color; the same is true for scientists who are studying the holes on Earth.Starting from the uppermost pictured (closest to the crater rim) to the lowest, the rock abrasion tool hole targets are called Tennessee, Cobblehill, Virginia, London, Grindstone, Kettlestone, and Drammensfjorden.</p><p>Opportunity Views RAT Hole Trail</p><p>Rover Tracks</p><p>RAT Hole(7 Places)</p></li><li><p>14</p><p>November 13 to 20, 2004 - Opportunity views Burns Cliff after driving to the base of this southeastern portion of the inner wall of Endurance Crater. The wide-angle view makes the cliff walls appear to bulge out toward the camera. In reality the walls form a gently curving, continuous surface. </p><p>Scientists analyzed data from stacked sedimentary rock layers 23 feet thick that were exposed inside Endurance Crater, identifying three divisions within the stack. The lowest, oldest portion had the signature of dry sand dunes. The middle portion had an environment of windblown sheets of sand with all the particles produced in part by previous evaporation of liquid water. The upper portion corresponded to layers Opportunity had found inside a smaller crater near its landing site. Scientists found that the materials in all three divisions were wet both before and after the layers were deposited by either wind or water. </p><p>Burns Cliff Wide-Angle View</p></li><li><p>15</p><p>Opportunity Heatshield Impact Site Investigated</p><p>December 28, 2004 - This mosaic was acquired shortly after Opportunity arrived at the site where its heatshield hit the ground south of Endurance Crater on January 24, 2004. The heatshield was part of the aeroshell supplied by Lockheed Martin in Denver, CO.</p><p>The mosaic of images taken by the panoramic camera are approximate true-color. On the left, the main heatshield piece is inverted and reveals its metallic insulation layer, glinting in the sunlight. The main piece stands about 3.3 feet high and lies about 43 feet from the rover. The other large, flat piece of debris near the center of the image is about 46 feet away. The circular feature on the right side of the image is the crater made by the heatshield's impact. It is about 9.2 feet in diameter but only 2 to 4 inches deep. The crater is about 20 feet from Opportunity in this view. Smaller fragments and debris can be seen all around the impact site. </p><p>Aeroshell Heatshield</p><p>Aeroshell HeatshieldDebris</p></li><li><p>16</p><p>Rover Stuck at Meridiani in Sand Dune</p><p>May 6 to May 14, 2005 - This panoramic image was acquired by Opportunity on the plains of Meridiani about 1.2 miles south of Endurance Crater. The rover was stuck in the dune's deep fine sand for more than a month at a place known informally as Purgatory Dune. </p><p>Opportunity's tracks leading back to the north (center of the panorama) are a reminder of the rover's long trek from Endurance Crater. The deep ruts dug by Opportunitys wheels as it became stuck in the sand appear in the foreground. The crest and trough of the last ripple the rover crossed before getting stuck is visible in the center. These wind-formed sand features are about 4 to 6 inches tall. The crest of the actual ripple where the rover got stuck can be seen just to the right of center. The tracks and a few other places on and near ripple crests are dustier than the undisturbed or normal plains soils in Meridiani. Since the time these ruts were made, some of the dust has been blown away by the wind, reaffirming the dynamic nature of the Martian environment, even in this barren, ocean-like desert of sand. </p></li><li><p>17</p><p>Opportunity on the Rim of Erebus</p><p>November 23 to December 5, 2005 - This is the Erebus Rim panorama, acquired by the Opportunity panoramic camera while exploring sand dunes and outcrop rocks in Meridiani Planum. Since the time this panorama was acquired, engineers diagnosed and tested Opportunity's robotic arm, and the panorama has been expanded to include more images of this terrain. The panorama is an approximate true-color rendering, and the largest acquired by either rover during the mission. This image provides the highest resolution view yet of the finely-layered outcrop rocks, wind ripples, and small cobbles and grains along the rim of the 984 feet wide but shallow Erebus Crater. Once the arm diagnostics and testing were completed, Opportunity started to explore other layered outcrop rocks at Erebus and eventually continued southward toward the large crater known as Victoria. </p></li><li><p>18</p><p>September 28, 2006 - Opportunity edged close to the rim of Victoria Crater for this vista. The crater has been the mission's long-term destination for the past 21 Earth months. The thick stack of geological layers, exposed in the crater walls, could reveal the record of past environmental conditions over a much greater span of time than Opportunity has previously examined.</p><p>Opportunity Arrives at Victoria Crater</p><p>October 5, 2006 - The far side of the crater is about one-half mile away. The rim of the crater is composed of alternating promontories, rocky points towering approximately 230 feet above the crater floor, and recessed alcoves. The bottom of the crater is covered by sand that has been shaped into ripples by the Martian wind. </p></li><li><p>19</p><p>October 3, 2006 - This image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows Opportunity near the rim of Victoria Crater and wheel tracks in the Martian soil behind it.</p><p>MRO Views Opportunity at Victoria Crater</p><p>The enlarged HiRISE image reveals the rovers shadow including the shadow of the camera mast. The range from MRO to the rover was 185.6 miles. </p><p>Opportunity arrived at the rim of the crater after a drive of more than 5 miles after landing. </p><p>Opportunitys Shadow</p></li><li><p>20</p><p>January 3, 2007 - Opportunity captured this vista of the crater from Cape Verde, one of the promontories that are part of the scalloped rim of the crater. On the left is Cape St. Mary, the next promontory clockwise from Cape Verde. The vantage point offered a good view of the rock layers in the 50 foot tall cliff face of Cape St. Mary. </p><p>Opportunity will study rocks around the rim of Victoria and look for a site to eventually safely enter the crater. </p><p>Examination of Victoria Crater BeginsNovember 22, 2006 - Opportunity examines the promontory called Cape Verde from Cape St. Mary. The upper portion of the crater wall contains a jumble of material tossed outward by the impact that excavated the crater. This vertical cross-section through the blanket of ejected material surrounding the crater was exposed by erosion that expanded the crater outward from its original diameter.</p><p>Cape St. Mary</p></li><li><p>21</p><p>Opportunity Tests New Navigation Capability</p><p>May 1, 2007 - The rovers panoramic camera took the exposures combined into this image while it was testing a new navigational capability called Field D-Star. This capability enables the rovers to plan optimal long-range drives around any obstacle in order to travel the most direct safe route to the drive's designated destination. Earlier, the rovers could recognize hazards when they approached them closely, then back away and try another angle, but could not always find a safe route away from hazards. </p><p>Victoria Crater is in the background, at the top of the image. The test drive began near the center of the image where the tracks overlap each other and includes the 52 ft curved tracks. The tracks farther away were left by earlier drives near the northern rim of the crater. The patch of larger rocks to the right was set a...</p></li></ul>