In 2003, NASA embarked on a mission to explore the planet Mars with the use of two land rovers. The primary purpose of the mission was to analyze the past presence of water on the red planet and to see if any water was currently present. The rovers would collect pieces of rock and use specialized equipment to analyze the material. This information would then be sent back to NASA scientists on Earth.
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When the rovers landed on Mars, they were deployed from the ship in two different places. One rover was deposited at Gusev Crater and the other was deposited at Meridiani Planum, which was on the opposite side of Mars. Scientists thought this was the best way to get an accurate sample of the rocks and minerals on the planet.
Rover Analyzing Equipment
Both of the rovers were equipped with highly-specialized equipment for the collection of specimens and exploration. Here is a list of some of the equipment.
- Panoramic camera.
- Microscopic imager for close-up photos of rocks and minerals.
- Tools for rock abrasion. This is so the rovers could remove dust and other particles so that they could examine things better.
- Spectrometer tools to measure thermal emissions and take x-rays.
- Magnets to collect dust particles that are magnetic.
There was no set ending date for the Mars Rover Exploration Mission as of 2011, and the land rovers will probably never be collected. This was also not the first attempt to explore Mars. Some previous rovers have disappeared or lost contact with Earth for various different reasons. The whole exploration of Mars is going to be a slow process.