Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Saturday, September 09, 2006

On the way to Victoria Crater

image courtesy NASA
Ralph Buttigieg
Sydney, NSW
In a couple of weeks the Mars rover Opportunity will arrive at Victoria Crater. Victoria is large, 70 meters deep and 230 meters across and has been Opportunity's goal for months. It should provide us with a fabulous Martian panorama as well as important science. As the scientists said:
"Victoria has been our destination for more than half the mission," said Ray Arvidson of Washington University, St. Louis. Arvidson is deputy principal investigator for Opportunity and its twin rover, Spirit. "Examination of the rocks exposed in the walls of the crater will greatly increase our understanding of past conditions on Mars and the role of water. In particular, we are very interested in whether the rocks continue to show evidence for having been formed in shallow lakes."
Opportunity and its sister robot Spirit , have been exploring Mars for over two years, they survived the months long space journey, the bouncy landing and the bitterly cold Martian winters. They are an incredible achievement for the American space program.
Update: French Near Space explorer Michel Fournier has had to delay his super jump attempt until 2007. He was unable to raise the necessary funds in time. The high altitude sky dive record has stood far too long. Lets hope he can successfully achieve his goal next time.