Opportunity stirs after long Martian winter

 The Mars rover Opportunity stirred in the midst of its slumber in the long Martian winter and snapped this beautiful composite image.  One month from today it will be joined by the much larger Curiosity and the search for ancient life will begin in earnest. Assuming Curiosity survives NASA’s Rube Goldberg reentry and descent contraption. And a new study suggests signs of ancient life could be lurking just under the surface for it to find:

CS Monitor— The research indicates that simple organic molecules, such as a single molecule of formaldehyde, could exist a mere 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) beneath the Martian surface. While the radiation level at these depths is still intense, simple building blocks of life (and, in the case of young craters, perhaps even complex building blocks) could survive, the researchers said.

The study, which suggests ideal locations and depths to search for organic molecules, could act as a road map for the Curiosity rover, which is due to land on Mars the night of Aug. 5.


  1. StevoR says

    What an Opportunity,
    This rover roaming Mars
    Enduring so long
    It makes us see stars!*
    It’s lasted so long,
    Its travelled so far,
    This heroic** rover
    Still going on Mars.

    Great news and write-up. Amazing machine.

    * Wandering stars – Mars and its moons which its also imaged IIRC.

    ** Yeah, I’m anthropomorphising. Sue me. (Not really please, no lawyers no money, me!)

  2. StevoR says

    Earlier this month Opportunity celebrated 3,000 Sols (martian days) and eight Earth years after first landing on the day before Australia Day 2004. It is still going and may hopefully welcome Curiosity to its home this August and who knows what more as it keeps on keeping on.

    Don’t know about anyone else but I find that simply staggering.

    Thanks for the reminder of that here, Stephen “DarkSyde” Andrew.

    Hope its okay to note this :


    great musical combined tribute and highlights package of both Spirit and Opportunity‘s journeys.

    (Ok, ok, I’ll quit hogging this thread now!)

  3. The Lorax says

    Opportunity is back up and kickin’ ass. Minor data glitch, but still truckin’ along. What a tough little machine! In my minds eye, I can see the First Smithsonian of Mars, with Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity as the first exhibits.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if, after a bit of cleanup, they still work even that far into the future.

    I’m biting my nails for Curiosity, though. What a glorious machine! Yet, what a difficult landing to stick. I really hope it works out, because we’re going to be doing so much great stuff with that machine.

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