Mars Rover Nears Crucial New Study Area

A yellow line shows Opportunity's travels on Mars. i i

A yellow line shows Opportunity's travels on Mars. The rover landed at Eagle Crater, and from there traveled east to Endurance Crater, both seen at the top of the image enlargement The rover then traveled more than 4.5 miles south to rendezvous with its next object of study, Victoria Crater, seen at the bottom. hide caption

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A yellow line shows Opportunity's travels on Mars.

A yellow line shows Opportunity's travels on Mars. The rover landed at Eagle Crater, and from there traveled east to Endurance Crater, both seen at the top of the image enlargement The rover then traveled more than 4.5 miles south to rendezvous with its next object of study, Victoria Crater, seen at the bottom.

It's now been nearly three years since NASA's two rovers landed on Mars to begin what was originally intended as a 90-day mission. Both are still going strong. The rover called Opportunity is about to reach Victoria Crater.

Scientists are excited about exploring this crater, since satellite pictures indicate there is more than 100 feet of exposed bedrock.

By studying layers of the bedrock, researchers hope to determine what forces shaped the rocks, and maybe answer with certainty the question of whether liquid water once covered the Martian surface.

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