The Mars Rover Opportunity finish a complete route of Mars in just eleven years. His last stretch of 46.9 meters was all it took for him to finish the marathon. It doesn`t sound that speedy, but the vehicle also had a couple of stops along the way which did nothing less than change everything we know about the Red Planet.
Opportunity Mars Rover just confirmed the long time saying “Slow and steady wins the race!”. Although, truth be told, he was not competing against another robot, but more like against the inhospitable environment on Mars.
The story of the 11 years marathon started in 2004. After being shipped out for millions of miles into outer space, Opportunity Mars Rover was parachuted on to the Martian surface, where he took quite a bump while landing.
While investigating the land close to where he landed, Mars Rover came across signs that suggested that on Mars, there was once water (acidic water), but still, water.
Scientists wanted to see, if perhaps there were any clues of regular water ever existing on mars. So, they sent Opportunity to investigate a very large crater called Endeavour, but the road was going to be hard. Mars`s surface is rocky and bumpy and one wrong move can easily get the Mars Rover stuck.
Needless to say that if that were to happen, there would be no nearby mechanic to help the little guy so that would be it for the whole expedition. Mars Rover had a long and difficult path ahead, sand storms made it nearly impossible for its batteries to capture the light they needed in order to recharge and its wheel became stuck in the blown sand and made it impossible for him to travel forward. Being the MacGyver of robots, the Mars Rover started travelling backwards.
When he finally reached Endeavour crater (in 2011), it finally found what it was looking for. Proof that water, not acidic water, liquid water had existed on Mars.
He figured that out by analyzing the gypsum found in the cracks of the crater. Gypsum forms thanks to water underground filling up cracks.
Next adventure for the Mars Rover awaits for him at the far away side of Endeavour Crate, where scientists believe more proof regarding water on Mars exists.
During its course of over 26 miles, the Opportunity Mars Rover, also manage to snag the title as the first robot to complete a Mars marathon.
Image Source: cnn