’s Mars rover Opportunity
has scraped away at some of the oldest rock it's examined and found the strongest signs for water it has ever discovered over its 9.5-year mission, scientists for the Mars Exploration Rover project said Friday. The scrappy little rover is now heading down Endeavour Crater’s rim to Solander Point, on what is in some ways a brand new mission, officials said.
"We consider it 'Sol 1' all over again for Opportunity," said John Callas, the mission’s project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
. A sol is a Martian day.
Just before leaving a spot called Cape York on its southbound journey, Opportunity examined a rock called Esperance using its X-ray spectrometer and microscopic imager, finding clear evidence that it held clay minerals that had been altered by water – a whole lot of it. It's a far cry from many of the previous findings on Martian moisture, said mission lead scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University.
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-- Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times