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Mars rover Opportunity examining rocks at new site

By Alicia Chang

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Sept. 1 2011 5:25 a.m. MDT

FILE - This is a Jan. 10, 2004 file image mosaic taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's panoramic camera made available by NASA showing a view of Mars southwest of the rover's landing site in the Gusev Crater. Two scientists are proposing we send volunteers to Mars and leave them there. They say the mission would mark the beginning of long-term human colonization of Mars, with numerous follow-up trips. The colleagues contend one-way missions could happen a lot quicker and cheaper, and it is essential to begin colonizing another planet as a hedge against a catastrophe that makes Earth uninhabitable. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL, File)

Associated Press

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LOS ANGELES — The Mars rover Opportunity is busy taking in its surroundings since arriving at its newest destination.

The solar-powered, six-wheel rover has beamed back pictures of the horizon, soil and nearby rocks. Unlike previous places it visited, the environment at Endeavour Crater is much older and contains different rocks.

Opportunity spent three years driving to the 14-mile-wide crater and finally reached the rim earlier this month.

Opportunity is exploring the Martian surface without its twin Spirit. NASA declared Spirit's mission over in late May after it failed to respond.

Both rovers landed in Mars in 2004 and lasted beyond their original three-month warranty.

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