Newly Launched ’Opportunity’ Follows Mars-Bound ’Spirit’

NASA launched its second Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, late Monday night aboard a Delta II launch vehicle whose bright glare briefly illuminated Florida Space Coast beaches.

Opportunity’s dash to Mars began with liftoff at 11:18:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (8:18:15 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The spacecraft separated successfully from the Delta’s third stage 83 minutes later, after it had been boosted out of Earth orbit and onto a course toward Mars. Flight controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., received a signal from Opportunity at 12:43 a.m. Tuesday EDT (9:43 p.m. Monday PDT) via the Goldstone, Calif., antenna complex of NASA’s Deep Space Network.

All systems on the spacecraft are operating as expected, JPL’s Richard Brace, Mars Exploration Rover deputy project manager, reported.

“We have a major step behind us now,” said Pete Theisinger, project manager. “There are still high-risk parts of this mission ahead of us, but we have two spacecraft on the way to Mars, and that’s wonderful.”

NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science Dr. Ed Weiler said, “Opportunity joins Spirit and other Mars-bound missions from the European Space Agency, Japan and the United Kingdom, which together mark the most extensive exploration of another planet in history. This ambitious undertaking is an amazing feat for Planet Earth and the human spirit of exploration.”

As of early Tuesday, Opportunity’s twin, Spirit, has traveled 77 million kilometers (48 million miles) since its launch on June 10 and is operating in good health.

Opportunity is scheduled to arrive at a site on Mars called Meridiani Planum on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time (evening of Jan. 24, Eastern and Pacific times), three weeks after Spirit lands in a giant crater about halfway around the planet.

NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor orbiter has identified deposits at Meridiani Planum of a type of mineral that usually forms in wet environments. Both rovers will function as robotic geologists, examining rocks and soil for clues about whether past environments at their landing sites may have been hospitable to life.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. It built the rovers and manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for the NASA Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Physics and Astronomy

This area deals with the fundamental laws and building blocks of nature and how they interact, the properties and the behavior of matter, and research into space and time and their structures.

innovations-report provides in-depth reports and articles on subjects such as astrophysics, laser technologies, nuclear, quantum, particle and solid-state physics, nanotechnologies, planetary research and findings (Mars, Venus) and developments related to the Hubble Telescope.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

High-thermoresistant biopolyimides become water-soluble like starch

This is the first report for the syntheses of water-soluble polyimides which are Interestingly derived from bio-based resources, showing high transparency, tunable mechanical strength and the highest thermoresistance in water-soluble…

Land management in forest and grasslands

How much can we intensify? A first assessment of the effects of land management on the links between biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are crucial for human…

A molecular break for root growth

The dynamic change in root growth of plants plays an important role in their adjustment to soil conditions. Depending on the location, nutrients or moisture can be found in higher…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close