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Mars Rover Opportunity Is Now Exploring The Ancient Fluid-Carved Perseverance Valley

First Posted: May 24, 2017 05:40 AM EDT

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity arrived at the Perseverance Valley on the planet Mars on May 4, 2017. Currently, it is exploring and examining the surfaces of the valley to know how the vast crevice has been developed.

Perseverance Valley is an ancient land region that is about the size of two football fields. It extends down from the western rim of the 14-mile-wide (22 kilometers) Endeavour Crater. The rover took images at a higher resolution as it approached the ancient fluid-carved valley, according to Space.com.

Matt Golombek, the Opportunity project scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said that the science team is really jazzed at seeing this area up close and looking for clues to help them identify several hypotheses about how the valley shaped. The researchers believed that the valley is developed billions of years ago through erosion that involves water, wind or a debris flow consisted of mud and boulders.

The Opportunity rover will start examining the area by capturing images from two locations at the tip of the rim. These include the long-baseline imaging that could help scientists to produce a detailed 3D analysis of the area. Opportunity Project Manager John Callas of JPL said that the long baseline stereo imaging will be used to produce a digital elevation map that could aid the scientists to evaluate possible driving routes down the valley before starting the descent, as noted by SpaceFlight Insider.

Opportunity has been spending two and half years of exploring rim segment known as cape Tribulation before reaching the Perseverance Valley. It landed on Mars in January 2004, and since then, it has driven a total of 27.8 miles (44.7 kilometers) exploring the Red Planet. 

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