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Looking Back at Greeley Haven After Opportunity's First Drive of 2012

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Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drove about 3.67 meters on May 8, 2012, after spending 19 weeks working in one place while solar power was too low for driving during the Martian winter. The winter worksite was on the north slope of an outcrop called Greeley Haven. The rover used its rear hazard-avoidance camera after nearly completing the May 8 drive, capturing this view looking back at the Greeley Haven. The dark shape in the foreground is the shadow of Opportunity's solar array. The view is toward the southeast.
Since landing in the Meridiani region of Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time and EST (Jan. 24, PST), Opportunity has driven 34.4 kilometres.
Opportunity and its rover twin, Spirit, completed their three-month prime missions on Mars in April 2004. Both rovers continued for years of bonus, extended missions. Both have made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favourable for supporting microbial life. Spirit stopped communicating in 2010.



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Images Credit NASA
Music generated on an Amiga 1200

The Mars Rover Exploration B (Mer-B), dubbed 'Opportunity', successfully landed on Mars, on January 25th, 2004. Touchdown was at roughly 5:05 a.m. Universal Time, in the Meridiani Hematite site.
The geographical coordinates for the center of Opportunity's landing target are 1.98 degrees south latitude and 5.94 degrees west longitude. The targeted landing area was an ellipse about 85 kilometres long and 11 kilometres wide.
The sister ship 'Spirit' landed in the Gusev Crater on the 4th January 2004. Opportunity landed on a smooth, flat plain, in the highest altitude landing ever attempted by Nasa. The Meridium Planum is a zone of grey hematite, an iron oxide.
A periodic fluctuation in the lander's first signal suggested that it rolled on the Martian surface for more than 20 minutes after landing. There were no fault tone signals, indicating that there were no errors during landing and rolling. Opportunity approached the Martian surface at a speed of 19,000 km/h. It deployed a parachute to slow its descent and airbags to cushion its landing. Rockets on the lander counteracted light gusts of wind during the descent.
Because of this, it touched down with a force of between two to three Gs - an exceptionally gentle landing. The rover was designed to withstand a landing of up to 40G; landing about 24 kilometres downrange from the center of the target area. The lander ended up lying on one of its side petals, so the next step was to make itself upright and deflate its airbags. The spacecraft sat in a shallow crater about 20 metres across. The exposed Martian bedrock, near the lander, had a slab-like form which was thought to have been created either by volcanic activity or by the action of water.
Images taken by a camera on the bottom of the lander during Opportunity's final descent showed a crater about 150 meters across, about one kilometre from the landing site.



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Opportunity, MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover B) landed on the Martian Meridiani Planum on 25 January 2004 at 05:05 Ground UTC (about 13:15 local time), three weeks after its twin Spirit (MER-A) touched down on the other side of the planet.
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Greeley Haven



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Durable NASA Rover Beginning Ninth Year of Mars Work

Eight years after landing on Mars for what was planned as a three-month mission, NASA's enduring Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is working on what essentially became a new mission five months ago.
Opportunity reached a multi-year driving destination, Endeavour Crater, in August 2011. At Endeavour's rim, it has gained access to geological deposits from an earlier period of Martian history than anything it examined during its first seven years. It also has begun an investigation of the planet's deep interior that takes advantage of staying in one place for the Martian winter.
Opportunity landed in Eagle Crater on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time, three weeks after its rover twin, Spirit, landed halfway around the planet.

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'Greeley Haven' is Winter Workplace for Mars Rover

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity will spend the next several months at a site informally named "Greeley Haven." The name is a tribute to planetary geologist Ronald Greeley (1939-2011), who was a member of the science team for the Mars rovers and many other interplanetary missions.
The site is an outcrop that provides a sun-facing slope to aid in maintaining adequate solar power during the rover's fifth Martian winter.  It also provides targets of scientific interest for the rover's robotic arm to examine.

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An Unusual Vein of Deposited Rock on Mars

marsvein_opportunity_900.jpg
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, NASA, JPL, Cornell

Pictured above is a vista taken near the western rim of Endeavour Crater by the Opportunity rover currently exploring Mars. The inset image shows a close up of the recently discovered mineral vein.
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Mars rover Opportunity finds 'most powerful' water clue

Nasa's Mars rover Opportunity has found slivers of a bright material that looks very much like it is gypsum (calcium sulphate).
If confirmed, it would be the most unambiguous signal of water activity yet found on Mars by this mission, which manages to keep on rolling.

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This colour image of a mineral vein called "Homestake" comes from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. Homestake is near the edge of the "Cape York" segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

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Expand (190kb, 1024 x 513)
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

The vein is about the width of a thumb and about 45 centimetres long. Opportunity examined it during the 2,769th Martian day (Nov. 7, 2011) of Opportunity's career on Mars, and found it to be rich in calcium and sulphur, possibly the calcium-sulphate mineral gypsum.



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NASA Mars Rover Finds Mineral Vein Deposited by Water
 
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has found bright veins of a mineral, apparently gypsum, deposited by water. Analysis of the vein will help improve understanding of the history of wet environments on Mars.
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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Opportunity Spent Holiday at 'Turkey Haven' - sols 2784-2790, November 23-29, 2011:

Opportunity spent the Thanksgiving holiday at a location called "Turkey Haven," on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.
This particular location provided favourable northerly tilts and may be a candidate for the winter haven location. On Sol 2787 (Nov. 26, 2011), the rover employed the robotic arm to collect some Microscopic Imager (MI) images of a surface target and then collect an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurement on the same.
On Sol 2790 (Nov. 29, 2011), Opportunity left "Turkey Haven" on a 12-metre drive to position herself near the other candidate winter haven for a closer look. The near term plan is for Opportunity to nudge around the new location and inspect the terrain for possible winter science targets and favourable tilts.
As of Sol 2790 (Nov. 29, 2011), solar array energy production was 292 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.770 and a solar array dust factor of 0.488.
Total odometry is 34,354.92 metres, or 34.35 kilometres.



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Mars Rover launch



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