NASA’s intrepid Opportunity rover has begun an exciting new phase in her epic journey – the ascent of Solander Point, the first mountain she will ever climb, after roving the Red Planet for nearly a decade. See the rovers tilted look-back view in our Sol 3431 mosaic above.
Furthermore, ground breaking discoveries providing new clues in search of the chemical ingredients required to sustain life are sure to follow as the rover investigates intriguing stratographic deposits distributed amongst Solander’s hills layers.
Why ? Because NASA’s powerful Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) circling overhead has also recently succeeded in collecting “really interesting” new high resolution survey scans of Solander Point! Read my prior pre-survey account – here.
So says Ray Arvidson, the mission’s deputy principal scientific investigator, in an exclusive Opportunity news update to Universe Today. The new MRO data are crucial for targeting the rover’s driving in coming months.
After gaining approval from NASA, engineers successfully aimed the CRISM mineral mapping spectrometer aboard MRO at Solander Point and captured reams of new high resolution measurements that will inform the scientists about the mineralogical make up of Solander.
“CRISM data were collected,” Arvidson told Universe Today.
“They show really interesting spectral features in the [Endeavour Crater] rim materials.”