Opportunity studying a football-field size crater

December 23, 2010
A football-field-size crater, informally named "Santa Maria," dominates the scene in this 360-degree view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. Following a 25-meter (82-foot) drive on the 2,451st Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Dec. 16, 2010), Opportunity used its navigation camera to take the frames combined into this mosaic. South is at the center. North is at both ends. The view is presented as a cylindrical projection. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- On Dec. 16, 2010, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reached a crater about the size of a football field-some 90 meters (295 feet) in diameter. The rover team plans to use cameras and spectrometers during the next several weeks to examine rocks exposed at the crater, informally named "Santa Maria."

A mosaic of image frames taken by Opportunity's navigation camera on Dec. 16 shows the crater's sharp rim and rocks ejected from the impact that had excavated the crater.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Opportunity completed its three-month prime mission on Mars in April 2004 and has been working in bonus extended missions since then. After the investigations at Santa Maria, the rover team plans to resume a long-term trek by Opportunity to the rim of Crater, which is about 22 kilometers (14 miles) in diameter.

Explore further: Opportunity rover halfway point reached

Related Stories

Opportunity rover halfway point reached

September 9, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- When NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity left Victoria Crater two years ago this month, the rover science team chose Endeavour Crater as the rover's next long-term destination. With a drive of 111 meters ...

On the Rim of 'Victoria Crater'

September 27, 2006

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity reached the rim of "Victoria Crater" in Mars' Meridiani Planum region with a 26-meter (85-foot) drive during the rover's 951st Martian day, or sol (Sept. 26, 2006). After the drive, the rover's ...

Mars Rover Seeing Destination in More Detail

June 29, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Mars rover team members have begun informally naming features around the rim of Endeavour Crater, as they develop plans to investigate that destination when NASA's Opportunity rover arrives there after many ...

Mars rover Opportunity sets out on its greatest journey yet

September 25, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Mars rover Opportunity, which has just crawled out of the 800-meter-wide (875 yards) Victoria Crater is setting out on the longest journey of its life. It will take the rover roughly two years of driving ...

Recommended for you

Dark matter may be smoother than expected

December 7, 2016

Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought. An international team ...

Cassini transmits first images from new orbit

December 7, 2016

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent to Earth its first views of Saturn's atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn's northern hemisphere, including the planet's ...

Saturn's bulging core implies moons younger than thought

December 7, 2016

Freshly harvested data from NASA's Cassini mission reveals that Saturn's bulging core and twisting gravitational forces offer clues to the ages of the planet's moons. Astronomers now believe that the ringed planet's moons ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bockabob
not rated yet Jan 02, 2011
take a close look at the small dot above the horizon in the south (bottom of pic)... wow!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.