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Mars Opportunity Rover Goes Camping To Sit Out Long Harsh Red Planet Winter

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The festival season may be drawing to a close here on Earth but on Mars, Nasa's Opportunity rover is getting into the spirit by bedding down in a campsite - for the whole winter.

In order for the robot to survive it has been parked on a north-facing slope called Solander Point so its solar-panels are are pointed towards the Sun for an extra boost in power.

Opportunity has so far survived five Martian winters - no mean feat as each one is 154 days long.

mars rover

This is probably not an accurate representation

Matt Golombek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said: "We made it!

"The drives went well, and Opportunity is right next to Solander Point. We know we could be on that north-facing slope with a one-day drive, but we don't need to go there yet.

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"We have time to investigate the contact between the two geological units around the base of Solander Point. Geologists love contacts."

The rover will scour the area for older rocks that researchers suspect may contain minerals that formed under wet conditions that were not as acidic.

Opportunity recently celebrated its 10th birthday which considering it was only supposed to last three months is well past tis life expectancy.

Just like an ageing human, Opportunity is showing symptoms "such as loss of motion in some joints".

During its time on Mars it has broadened our knowledge of the red planet massively, even finding evidence of water.

Infamously it also became an internet sensation when it accidentally drew a penis on the surface of Mars.

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