NASA’s veteran Mars rover driving to new spot

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This image provided by NASA shows a rock outcrop in Gale Crater on Mars. The NASA rover Curiosity plans to study the outcrop before heading off to its ultimate science destination, a mountain rising from the middle of the crater, in the next several weeks. AP Photo

LOS ANGELES— NASA’s Opportunity rover is still on the move after years on the surface of Mars.

The space agency said Friday the six-wheel, solar-powered rover is driving to a new spot in Endeavour Crater after spending 20 months at a site brimming with evidence of water-altered rocks.

Opportunity began the trip to its next destination, Solander Point, several weeks ago so that it can be in place well before the next Martian winter. The rover recently wrapped up its study of a clay-rich rock that’s different from any other it has examined.

Since landing in 2004, Opportunity has explored five craters and uncovered geologic signs of past water. Its twin, Spirit, stopped communicating in 2010.

Earlier this week, NASA announced the new rover Curiosity is about to head toward a mountain.

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