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Mars NASA Space Science

NASA Mars Rover Spots Its Ultimate Destination 101

coondoggie writes "It has been years in the making but NASA said its Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has captured a new view of the rim of the planet's Endeavour crater, perhaps the rover's ultimate destination. The Mars rover set out for Endeavour in September 2008 after spending two years exploring the Victoria crater. NASA says Endeavour is 13 miles across, some 25 times wider than Victoria crater, and could offer scientists more insight into the red planet's makeup."
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NASA Mars Rover Spots Its Ultimate Destination

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  • Re:Impact crater (Score:5, Informative)

    by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:39PM (#32081260)

    It will cause deformations to the underlying rock strata, but that strata will still be visible and measurable. At the Haughton Impact crater in northern Canada, the cliffs that make up the crater rim maintain their structure. The material that was ejected has wound up as big breccia hills within the crater, and was also distributed around outside the crater.

    Also, most of the hydrological (and dare I say hydrodynamical?) features actually come up after the impact, and can tell you a lot about the underlying mineralogy. As the heat from the impact dissipates, it heats water, which dissolves some minerals, which then bubble up to the surface. These hydro-thermal events that occur after the impact is also where you can best expect to find microbial life. In effect, you have all the needed ingredients for life present in a hydrothermal vent... warm, running water and associated minerals.

  • Re:Impact crater (Score:5, Informative)

    by maxwells_deamon ( 221474 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @01:46AM (#32081966) Homepage

    Go to Metor Crater in Arizona and take the tour.

    The impactor buries itself in the ground. then explodes. The explosion peals back the layers and stacks them upside down outside the crater like a shattered layer cake. They are easier to get to on the outside. That is why all the Apollo astronauts came to the crater to study geology.

    Go here read the geology section []

    cool stuff


  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @02:39AM (#32082178) Homepage

    Funny how you should mention equipment, when a manned mission would have to carry huge, huge amounts of equipment to make sure said squishy little thing doesn't die on the way there from temperature, radiation, lack of air, water or food. Same goes for heat shields, parachutes and thrusters to not get killed during landing - landing like the rovers would leave them a bloody smear. Again all the environmental requirements applies on the planet, you'd need a huge solar panel just to keep the habitat at a survivable temperature. Most likely their operational reach is limited by getting home by nightfall when it's -80C (-110F) at best. Never mind that they probably want a way to return home that'll take even more room for a launch vehicle. In short, the whole expedition is huge long before you have the tiniest bit of scientific equipment.

  • Links Links (Score:5, Informative)

    by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @03:04AM (#32082288)
    Don't you hate it when /. posts are linked to blog sites instead of the home page, anyway post your links below

    Home Page []

    Images []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:23AM (#32082716)

    In manufacturing, if the expected life is 1 year (with a warranty period of 90 days), and if a $10 part will last, literally forever while a $2 part will last for 1 year of continuous use... You choose the $2 part.

    Yes. But if the specs for your device includes high-g acceleration on launch, storage in vacuum at very low temperatures during transport, rapid heating during re-entry, another round of high-g deceleration, and finally operation in a thin atmosphere at still very low temperatures, you'll probably need the $10 part anyway. That it'll last virtually forever is just an added benefit.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!