Mars rover continues journey after fifth winter

The Mars Exploration Rover "Opportunity" has finally left Greeley Haven, an outcrop titled towards the sun. The rover has been working in that area since December 26th 2011, using spectrometers and a microscopic imager to inspect over a dozen targets within reach while on the outcrop. The rover conducted the tests during the winter months of Mars in order to gain more precise information regarding the planet's rotation. Iit has moved 12 feet away from the outcrop to the sand just below it.

Now the rover will turn its panoramic camera back to the outcrop in order to take multiple images of the targets that it scanned while on the outcrop. The team controlling the rover will then make sure there's enough energy now that it rests at a different angle. During the winter months, the rover was angled favourably to catch as much sun as possible.

Matt Golombek, Opportunity team member, details the next steps for the rover: "Our next goal is a few meters farther north on Cape York, at a bright-looking patch of what may be dust. We haven't been able to see much dust in Meridiani. This could be a chance to learn more about it." Aside from the dust, the team is hoping to study bedrock in the northern regions of Cape York.

[via NASA]