NASA rover ready to leave Victoria Crater

Aug. 27, 2008 at 9:16 AM
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PASADENA, Calif., Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. space agency's rover Opportunity will soon be back on Mars' plains after nearly a year in a large Martian crater studying ancient rock layers.

"We've done everything we entered Victoria Crater to do and more," said Bruce Banerdt, of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Banerdt is project scientist for Opportunity and its rover twin, Spirit.

Opportunity entered Victoria Crater Sept. 11, 2007, and the data it has returned about the layers in Victoria suggest the sediments were deposited by wind and then altered by groundwater.

Spirit has resumed observations after surviving the harshest weeks of southern Martian winters scientists said. But the Spirit rover won't move from its winter haven until the amount of available solar energy increases a few months from now.

"Both rovers show signs of aging but they are both still capable of exciting exploration and scientific discovery," said JPL's John Callas, project manager for Spirit and Opportunity.

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