NASA's Curiosity finds crystals, Opportunity celebrates her 5,000th day on Mars and the MarCO smallsats get solar arrays.
Opportunity was built to last 90 sols, or Martian days. More than 5,000 sols later she's still making discoveries like these stone stripes on Mars, which resemble similar geology on Earth. She even took her first selfie using her microscopic imager. It was a little blurry—her camera wasn't made for selfies!
The Curiosity rover has spotted tiny crystals and stick-like figures on Mars. These tiny crystals may be what's left from an ancient lake or when past groundwater moved through sediment.
A piece of Mars will be going home with NASA's 2020 mission. A Martian meteorite will be on the new rover to serve as a practice target for one of the rover's high precision lasers.
Coming soon: Mars Cube One (MarCO)
When NASA launches the Insight mission to Mars this spring the rocket will also carry a technology demonstration. Two smallsats, known as Mars Cube One (MarCO) will serve as a communications relay for InSight during landing. Engineers recently installed and tested MarCO's solar arrays.