Mars-wagentjes blijven rijden

Nieuws | de redactie
28 januari 2009 | Ze zouden het 3 maanden doen. Inmiddels vieren de twee Mars-wagentjes, Spirit en Opportunity, hun vijfde verjaardag op de bodem van onze buurplaneet, still going strong. Ze hebben inmiddels 21 kilometer gereden, stofstormen overleefd en 250.000 beelden naar de aarde gestuurd.

Since landing on opposite sides of Mars during January of 2004, Spirit and Opportunity have made important discoveries about historically wet and violent environments on ancient Mars. They also have returned a quarter-million images, driven more than 21 kilometers (13 miles), climbed a mountain, descended into craters, struggled with sand traps and aging hardware, survived dust storms, and relayed more than 36 gigabytes of data via NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter. Both rovers remain operational for new exploration campaigns the team has planned.

Before landing, the goal for each rover was to drive up to 40 meters (about 44 yards) in a single day, for a total of up to one 1 kilometer (about three-quarters of a mile). Both goals have been far exceeded! Where are the rovers now?

Moving from place to place, the rovers perform on-site geological investigations. Each rover is sort of the mechanical equivalent of a geologist walking the surface of Mars. The mast-mounted cameras are mounted 1.5 meters(5 feet) high and provide 360-degree, stereoscopic, humanlike views of the terrain. The robotic arm is capable of movement in much the same way as a human arm with an elbow and wrist.

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