NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity Takes First Drive of 2012

Posted on May 10, 2012

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is on the move again. It drove above 12 feet on May 8th - its first drive in nearly 5 months. Opportunity took the above image of Greeley Haven with its rear hazard-avoidance camera. The dark shape in the foreground is the shadow of Opportunity's solar array.

Opportunity spent 19 weeks working at the outcrop known as Greeley Haven while solar power was too low for driving during the Martian winter. The name Greeley Haven, is a tribute to planetary geologist Ronald Greeley (1939-2011), who was a member of the science team for the Mars rovers and many other interplanetary missions.

NASA says Opportunity has driven a total of 21.4 miles (34.4 kilometers) since landing in the Meridiani region of Mars on Jan. 25, 2004. Opportunity's rover twin, Spirit, stopped communicating in 2010.

Opportunity will be joined on Mars by the rover Curiosity in less than 3 months. Curiosity lands on Mars on August 5th.

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