[meteorite-list] Astronomy Picture of the Day: Opportunity Rockets Toward Mars

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:29:59 2004
Message-ID: <200309221555.IAA13725_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

Astronomy Picture of the Day
2003 September 22
Opportunity Rockets Toward Mars

Explanation: Next stop: Mars. Two months ago, the second of two missions to
Mars was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA above a Boeing Delta II
rocket. The Mars Exploration Rover dubbed Opportunity is expected to arrive
at the red planet this coming January. Pictured above, an attached RocketCam
(TM) captures Opportunity separating from lower booster stages and rocketing
off toward Mars. Upon arriving, parachutes will deploy to slow the
spacecraft and surrounding airbags will inflate. The balloon-like package
will then bounce around the surface a dozen times or more before coming to a
stop. The airbags will then deflate, the spacecraft will right itself, and
the Opportunity rover will prepare to roll onto Mars. A first rover named
Spirit was successfully launched on June 10 and will arrive at Mars a few
weeks earlier. The robots Spirit and Opportunity are expected to cover as
much as 40 metres per day, much more than Sojourner, their 1997 predecessor.
Spirit and Opportunity will search for evidence of ancient Martian water,
from which implications might be drawn about the possibility of ancient
Martian life.
Received on Mon 22 Sep 2003 11:55:56 AM PDT

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