NASA's older Mars rover notches another milestone
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Opportunity, NASA's other Mars rover, has tooled around the red planet for so long it's easy to forget it's still alive.
Some 5,000 miles away from the limelight surrounding Curiosity's every move, Opportunity this week quietly embarks on its tenth year of exploration — a sweet milestone since it was only tasked to work for three months.
After so many years crater-hopping, Opportunity is showing its age: It has an arthritic joint in its robotic arm and it drives mostly backward due to a balky front wheel — more annoyances than show-stoppers.
For the past several months, it has been parked on a clay-rich hill along the western rim of Endeavour Crater that's unlike any scenery it encountered before. It plans to wrap up at its current spot in the next several months and then drive south where the terrain looks even riper for discoveries.