The Opportunity Rover Made Another Interesting Discovery On Mars

NASA is sending a piece of Mars back home

One leading explanation involves the planet's obliquity - or the tilt of Mars' equator relative to its orbit - which is thought to alter significantly over hundreds of thousands of years.

The next Mars rover is being built and developed at JPL, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for use in the Mars 2020 mission.

About the size of a golf cart, Opportunity discovered evidence that ancient Mars held groundwater and surface water during the rover's first few months of exploration. They said that on Earth usually such stripes are caused by repeated freezing and thawing of wet soil but they are not sure how these were created on Mars.

On Saturday, NASA announced that Opportunity witnessed a Martian sunrise for the 5,000th time, making it one of humanity's most enduring machines on an alien world.

As per the report, landed in 2004, the Opportunity rover is now examining Perseverance Valley on Mars. It's often referred to as the marathon rover-a testament not only to its robust engineering, but the people back on Earth who've spent the last 14 years driving, maintaining, and finding loopholes to keep the rover funded and sending back science.

Further study of the region will be required - and, for now, the Opportunity rover seems up to the task.

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It is investigating a channel called "Perseverance Valley", which descends the inboard slope of the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

"Debris from relatively fresh impact craters is scattered over the surface of the area, complicating assessment of effects of wind", Opportunity science-team member Robert Sullivan, of Cornell University, said in a different statement. On the other hand, NASA informed that the reason behind that could be the wind, downhill transport or some combination of various processes. It's mysterious. It's exciting. "I think the set of observations we'll get will enable us to understand it", said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis.

On some slopes within the valley, the soil and gravel particles appear to have become organized into narrow rows or corrugations, parallel to the slope, alternating between rows with more gravel and rows with less. (In second place is the Soviet Union's remote-controlled Lunokhod 2 rover, which traveled about 24.4 miles, or 39 km, on the moon back in 1973.) The rover has beamed about 225,000 images home to Earth during its time on the Red Planet, mission officials said.

The origin of the whole valley is uncertain.

Its most recent observations are of possible "rock stripes" that could suggest actions of water, wind or other processes on the Red Planet.

The U.S. space agency reports in a news release that it determined that a slice of meteorite it found in Oman back in 1999 actually came from the Red Planet itself.

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