Mars Rover Crater Descent Delayed by Dust Storm

By NewsDude ,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2007 3:16 PM CDT
A Digital Opportunity Rover on Mars    (NASA)
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(Newser) – Mars Opportunity Rover has been perched on the edge of Victoria Crater on Mars for nine months waiting to descend and explore the crater. Then, this week, when scientists were to send it down, a dust storm thousands of miles wide partially blocked the sunlight Opportunity needs to recharge its batteries. Until the dust abates the mission is on hold.

Scientists have been extra careful reconnoitering the crater, as they want to avoid having the now slightly disabled rover—the steering actuator is partially jammed—tumble down. Both Opportunity and its sister rover Spirit have now lived 13 times longer than their expected three-month life span. Scientists say they are thrilled at the additional opportunity this presents.