Thursday, September 28, 2006

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Rover arrives at prime location

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Rover arrives at prime location:

"Nasa's robotic Mars rover Opportunity has arrived at what researchers hope will prove to be a 'dream' location - the 800m-wide Victoria Crater.

The depression has high walls with layers of exposed rock that should reveal significant new information about the Red Planet's geological past.

Opportunity has been exploring Mars' Meridiani Plains since January 2004.

Its 'twin', the Spirit rover, continues to explore Gusev Crater on the other side of the Red Planet.

Both robots have continued working far beyond their designed mission lifetimes.

Opportunity has now driven more than 9.2km (5.7 miles) across the planet's dusty surface, examining rocks and studying the Martian environment.

Water story

It has found strong evidence that its region of Mars was covered with shallow waters many millions of years ago. The investigation of rocks at Victoria is expected to fill out the story still further.

'This is a geologist's dream come true,' said Professor Steve Squyres of Cornell University, the principal investigator on Nasa's rover programme."

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