February 11, 2014

Special Edition: Opportunity Turns 10

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When the rovers Opportunity and Spirit first landed on Mars, team leader Prof. Steve Squyres, astronomy, and his team approached the mission by acting like they had “an assassin out there looking over [their] shoulders,” according to Robert Sullivan, a senior research associate in astronomy. There were dozens of things that could have gone wrong, from the martian weather to the electronics and instruments of the rovers themselves.

“We should just pretend we’re in the crosshairs. And sooner or later we’re going to get picked off … believe it or not that was ten years ago,” Sullivan said.

On Jan. 17, the Mars Rover Opportunity celebrated its tenth anniversary. Originally expected to collect data for three months, the rover has lasted far past its original expiration date.

Courtesy of Shoshanna Cole grad/NASA/JPL-CaltechSay cheese | Mars rover Opportunity just reached the 10-year anniversary of its landing on Mars. The rover took this self portrait about three weeks before the 10th anniversary date, according to Shoshanna Cole grad.