|Mars rover Opportunity, shown in an image released by NASA/JPF as it leaves wheel tracks after escaping from a sand trap|
The Mars rover Opportunity
has freed itself from a sand dune on the surface of the fourth planet after being stuck nearly five weeks in the sandy trap.
Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration confirmed Saturday that the six-wheeled robot, which had only traveled 30 centimeters in the last month, had finally gotten out of the deep, talcum powder-like sand. Engineers will scan the Martian surface through Opportunity's camera before deciding which direction to send the rover next.
Opportunity and its twin probe, Spirit, landed on Mars in January 2004 in what was intended to be a 90-day mission. Sixteen months later both robots are still working and have traveled more than five kilometers on the surface of Mars.
Some information for this report provided by AP.