We still have two functional Rovers on Mars, though media coverage is pretty much non-existent at this point, unless you know where to look for it. CNN is reporting that the rovers are on a new mission due to their extended longevity in the Martian environment. NASA has been given the go ahead to put the Opportunity Rover on a mission of no return (within a mission of no return) by having the rover enter the ‘Endurance’ Crater.
There are a number of tantalizing targets of study inside the crater, including a rock called Karetepe. But mission scientists say they’re still deciding whether to risk a trip inside. Engineers have been conducting experiments in a test bed facility at the Jet Propulsion Lab to see how steep a slope the rover can climb on sandy and rocky surfaces.
“If we go in, there is a possibility, independent of how much testing we do, that we might not come out,” Wallace said. “So the risk/benefit equation is still being worked. We’re spending a lot of time talking about it, and hopefully that will converge and we’ll end up making a decision.”
A needed link for most of the news is the Mars Exploration Rover Home page.
In other news John Kerry is protesting the US illegal occupation of Mars and offers a plan to hasten our withdrawal.