The rover has been on Mars for 10 years, doing science all this time
With the flurry of announcements and findings coming from Curiosity, it's easy to forget that there's another rover on Mars, Opportunity, one that's been around for quite a lot longer than Curiosity.In fact, Opportunity is celebrating its 10th anniversary on the red planet this week, 10 years filled with scientific discoveries and exploration.
The rover was only meant to work for three months, it's exceeded that 40 times over.
The NASA engineers did built Opportunity to last more than three months, despite the official length of the mission, but even they weren't expecting to get this much out of the small rover.
Spirit, Opportunity's twin rover, became unresponsive in 2010, likely after its solar panels got covered with sand and dust, unable to generate the amount of electricity Spirit needed to operate.
Opportunity is not doing so well either, the years have taken their toll, its robotic arm has been damaged and can't move as much as before and the rover prefers to drive backwards due to a faulty front wheel. But it's still working and still doing science.
Most recently, it's been analyzing the clay deposits along the western rim of the Endeavour Crater. After this, it plans to move to another location.
The rover, which is significantly smaller than Curiosity and much slower, has covered 35 kilometers, 22 miles, to date. Curiosity has already driven 700 meters, almost half a mile, since August.