Mars Rover In Final Approach To Goal

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PASADENA, Calif., Aug. 8 (UPI) — NASA says its Mars rover Opportunity has gained a view of the Endeavour crater, the mission’s long-term goal since mid-2008, from just a short distance away.

As it approaches the 14-mile wide crater, scientists hope to gather data from exposed rock on the crater’s western rim far older than any Opportunity has seen so far, a NASA release said.

The rover is slowly making its way to the southern end of the outcropping, dubbed “Spirit point” in honor of Opportunity’s companion rover that concluded its mission in May 2011 when it failed to re-establish contact after the harsh Martian winter.

Both rovers had completed the initial three-month prime missions in April 2004 but continued for years of extended bonus missions.

Both rovers have secured valuable data about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life.

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