Opportunity, MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover – B), is a robotic rover on the planet Mars, active since 2004. Launched from Earth on July 7, 2003, it landed on Meridiani Planum on January 25, 2004 at 05:05 Ground UTC (about 13:15 local time). This was three weeks after its twin Spirit (MER-A), also part of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission, touched down on the other side of the planet. Its twin became immobile in 2009 and in 2010 ceased communications, but MER-B is still active as of 2012, having already exceeded its planned 90 (Martian) day duration of activity by 70008000000000000008 years, 7002215000000000000215 days (in Earth time); in other words, it has continued to move, gather scientific observations, and report back to Earth for nearly 35 times its designed lifespan.
Mission highlights include the initial 90 Sol (90 Martian days) mission, finding extramartian meteorites such as Meridiani Planum, and over two years studying Victoria crater. It survived dust-storms and reached Endeavour crater in 2011, which has been described as a "second landing site".
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C..
Famous quotes containing the word rover:
“Old Rover in his moss-greened house
Mumbles a bone, and barks at a mouse.”
—Walter De La Mare (18731956)