Energy

NASA Says 13-Year-Old Mars Rover Is ‘Acting Like A Teenager’

(REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Handout)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover is starting to act like a teenager after 13 years on the Red Planet, according to the space agency.

NASA scientists note in the video that the rover is increasingly “acting more independently,” even climbing mountains taller than it was designed to handle. The rover also “stays up late talking to her friends,” two Mars orbiters. The rover also “loves to share pictures” and even has its own Twitter.

Like any typical teenager, the rover doesn’t “always call home” when it should and occasionally gives NASA “the silent treatment” when terrain on the Martian surface blocks its view of Earth. The rover is also “getting smarter” and more autonomous through software updates. It even occasionally disobey’s NASA commands.

Opportunity’s original mission was only intended to be 90 days long, but the rover has remained operational for far longer.

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NASA is currently operating two rovers on Mars, dubbed “Opportunity” and “Curiosity.” America’s space agency successfully landed seven different probes on Mars and only crashed two. No country besides the U.S. has successfully operated a probe on Mars for longer than 14.5 seconds.

NASA rover Curiosity Mars discovered new geological evidence that liquid water was flowing on the Red Planet in the distant past.

Scientists think the rover may have discovered 3-billion-year-old mud cracks, meaning the planet was likely covered in water at that time. The rover also identified geological layering patterns called cross-bedding, which typically form on Earth when water flows rapidly near the shore of a lake.

In December, Curiosity found numerous organic molecules “all over” the Red Planet in samples it drilled out of rocks as well as organic molecules.

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