With little sun to charge its batteries, NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity overwintered on a site called Greeley Haven, located on the rim of Endeavour Crater, where it studied rocks with its spectrometer and microscopic imager within reach of its robotic arm. It was the rover’s fifth Martian winter.
With the onset of spring, the rover is on the move again. Last week, Opportunity drove downhill about 12 feet (3.7 meters), heading toward a spot on the crater’s south rim called Cape Tribulation. There, it will look for clay minerals, which form when water meets rock.
NASA’s new rover, Curiosity, is due to arrive on the Red Planet on Aug. 6.
Image: Opportunity uses its rear hazard-avoidance camera to look back at Greeley Haven, its winter home, as it rolls off to look for clay minerals. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech