NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover ‘Opportunity’ was launched on July 7, 2003 and landed on the surface of Mars on January 25, 2004. As of year 2013 the Opportunity is still going.
NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity in its ten years of exploration has come across the tallest mountain. It has began scaling its tallest encounter yet. Opportunity will explore outcrops on the northwestern slopes of Solander Point, guided by mineral mapping from orbit, and will make its way up hill as a field geologist will do.
The hill rises southward as a ridge from Solander Point, forming an elevated portion of the western rim of Endeavour Crater spanning around 22 kilometres in diameter.
The sulphate-rich rocks record an ancient environment that was wet, but very acidic. The area reveals contact between a sulphate-rich geological formation and an older formation. The contact with older rocks may tell researchers about a time when environmental conditions changed.
Firstly Eastern side of the Solander Point was expored by the Oppotunity and then it drove back north and around the point to explore the other side.
“We took the time to find the best place to start the ascent,”
said Opportunity’s project manager, John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. “Now we’ve begun that climb, We’re in the right place at the right time, on a north-facing slope” he said.