On 25 January 2004, a robot rover crashed through the atmosphere of Mars and bounced to a standstill on the surface of the red planet. The moment was greeted with scenes of jubilation as Nasa scientists celebrated the successful landing of their second rover, named Opportunity.
The Opportunity rover far surpassed original expectations. It managed to send data back to Earth for nearly 15 years, significantly longer than the three months it was supposed to survive.
This week, Nicola talks to the project manager for the Mars exploration rovers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, and the deputy project scientist, who decided to become a planetary scientist after seeing Opportunity landing all those years ago. She also chats to the scientist leading the team building the cameras for the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover, recently named Rosalind Franklin, which is set to be launched in the summer of 2020.
Support The Guardian
The Guardian is editorially independent.
And we want to keep our journalism open and accessible to all.
But we increasingly need our readers to fund our work.