U.S. Markets closed

Mars rover reaches site that scientists still can’t explain

Mike Wehner

When new discoveries on Mars are made you typically see the name “Curiosity” associated with them, but NASA has another rover cruising around the martian surface, and it just arrived at one of the most confusing places on the planet. The pint-sized rover is now investigating “Perseverance Valley” — a massive gash in the martian surface that researchers still can’t fully explain.

 

Don't Miss: Researchers found a dinosaur that still has its skin and guts

The rover, Opportunity, was launched way back in 2003, and was only expected to carry out its observation and research mission for a few months. Today, over 13 years since it was expected to retire, the rover still functions, and NASA continues to send it on new tours of the red planet.

Opportunity, which is much, much smaller than its car-sized Curiosity cousin, was sent to Perseverance Valley in hopes of shedding some light on its origins. Scientists studying Mars know that the valley was carved by some dramatic force, but with a handful of possibilities including water, wind, and even muddy rocks, there’s still no clear answer. With the rover in place, researchers plan to use its observations to generate a detailed map which will be used to plan the vehicle’s driving route along the rim and eventually into the valley itself.

As with all new information and observations of the red planet, research like this will prove invaluable in planning further robotic exploration of Mars as well the eventual human exploration of the planet, which is currently slated to take place at some point in the 2030s.

Related:

For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android.

Trending right now:

  1. This new iPhone 8 leak has left us perplexed
  2. Brand new HTC U11 did to the Google Pixel what the Galaxy S8 couldn’t
  3. This is the Retina MacBook Apple needs to make

See the original version of this article on BGR.com