Opportunity: Marathon Valley, for 7th Mars winter

7th-winterOperators of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity plan to drive the rover into a valley this month where Opportunity will be active through the long-lived rover’s seventh Martian winter, examining outcrops that contain clay minerals….  The rover is operating in a mode that does not store any science data overnight. It transmits the data the same day they’re collected.

The rover is working about half a football field’s length away from entering the western end of “Marathon Valley,” a notch in the raised rim of Endeavour Crater, which is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004 and has been studying the rim of Endeavour since 2011.

Engineers and scientists operating Opportunity have chosen Marathon Valley as the location for the solar-powered rover to spend several months, starting in August, to take advantage of a sun-facing slope loaded with potential science targets. [More at link, including video]

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