Pasadena CA (JPL) Apr 15, 2011
A flat, light-toned rock on Mars visited by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover in 2005 informally bears the name of the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, who rode into orbit in the Soviet Union's Vostok-1 spacecraft on April 12, 1961.
The team using Opportunity to explore the Meridiani Planum region of Mars since 2004 chose "Gagarin" for what they would call the rock that the rover examined beside "Vostok" crater. A target for close-up examination on Gagarin is called "Yuri."
To commemorate Gagarin's flight, a color image of the rock on Mars has been posted here. The image combines frames taken through three different filters by Opportunity's panoramic camera.
Early accomplishments in the Space Age inspired many of the researchers exploring other planets robotically today, who hope their work can, in turn, help inspire the next generation.
"The 50th anniversary of mankind's first fledgling foray into the cosmos should serve as an important reminder of the spirit of adventure and exploration that has propelled mankind throughout history," said Mars rover science team member James Rice of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "We are a species of explorers; it is encoded into our very DNA."
Rice continued, "Half a century ago Yuri Gagarin was lofted into a totally unknown, remote and hostile environment and in doing so opened up a new limitless frontier of possibilities for mankind. A mere 23 days later another brave human, Alan Shepard, climbed aboard a rocket and ventured into the starry abyss. Their courage and vision continue to inspire and lead us into the unknown. Hopefully, one day in the not too distant future it will lead humanity on a voyage to Mars."
Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, completed their three-month prime missions on Mars in April 2004. Both rovers continued in years of bonus, extended missions. Both have made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life.
Spirit has not communicated with Earth since March 2010. Opportunity remains active. This month, it has passed both the 27-kilometer and 17-mile marks in its total driving distance on Mars.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Mars Exploration Rover
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more
Several Drives This Week Put Opportunity Over 17-Mile Mark
Pasadena CA (JPL) Apr 12, 2011
Opportunity continues the trek towards Endeavour crater with great dispatch, driving on four of the last six sols. On Sols 2554 and 2556 (April 1 and 3, 2011), the rover drove over 100 meters (328 feet) due east on each sol. On Sol 2558 (April 5, 2011), the drive stopped short at only 64.6 meters (212 feet) of progress when the right bogie angle limit was exceeded. The limit was set ... read more
BRP To Contribute To Canadian Moon And Mars Exploration Programs|
Naveen Jain Co-Founder And Chairman Of Moon Express
Project Morpheus To Begin Testing At NASA's Johnson Space Center
NASA Announces Winners Of 18th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race
Boosters for final shuttle mission ready
Thousands of shuttle workers losing jobs
Jeffrey Hoffman On The Space Shuttle At 30
Retiring space shuttles go to four US museums
Roberto Vittori's DAMA Mission To ISS
Northrop Grumman To Test Heat Management System On ISS
The MELFI Shuffle: Contingency Planning For Preserving Samples
Space Debris No Threat To ISS
The Shape-Shifting Southern Vortex Of Venus
The Shape-Shifting Southern Vortex Of Venus
Titan Shaped By Weather Not Ice Volcanoes
Cassini Finds Saturn Sends Mixed Signals
Cassini Sees Seasonal Rains Transform Titan's Surface
Moon of Saturn a 'hot' research subject
Landsat: Who Are The Customers
Astrium GEO-Info Services Looks Back On The Chernobyl Disaster 25 Years Later With EO Technologies
Arctic Ice Gets A Check Up
Joint Polar Satellite System Program And The US Budget
Yury Gagarin's Flight Remembered
NASA spared cuts in US spending bill passage
NASA mission control named for Chris Kraft
Witnesses Say Future Of NASA Human Space Flight Is Uncertain
A New Way To Find Planets
Telescope Ferrets Out Planet-Hunting Targets
White Dwarfs Could Be Fertile Ground For Other Earths
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|