Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity gets stuck in a small sand dune

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Opportunity stuck in sand dune
Opportunity stuck in sand dune

Friday, May 6, 2005

The Mars Rover MER B, better known as Opportunity, is stuck in a sand dune about 30 centimeters tall in Meridiani Plunum. The Rover had just discovered a pair of tiny craters when its six wheels got stuck in the dune and the Rover stopped dead.

Opportunity ground control is now taking its time getting Opportunity free. They also want to discover what is so different about this soil so that this kind of event may be avoided in the future.

"A note to all you Opportunity fans: Get used to the current scenery, because we’re going to be here awhile," Steve Squyres, lead scientist on the Rover team at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York wrote in his blog. "We are very optimistic that we’ll be able to get out of here, but we’re really going to take our time doing it." Squyres also noted: "We've gotten dug in before and gotten out just fine, so this isn't cause for immediate concern."

Opportunity is one of two rovers (along with its twin Spirit, which landed on Mars on 3 January 2004) designed to explore the surface of Mars and radio back data to Earth. Squyres promises to keep the public updated of any changes through his blog.