NASA Rover Opportunity Takes First Peek Into Victoria Crater

Sep 20, 2006
Opportunity´s view of the rim of ´Victoria Crater.´ (NASA)

On Monday, NASA's Mars rover Opportunity got to within about 160 feet of the rim of the half-mile-wide Victoria Crater, the rover's destination since late 2004.

The new position gave Opportunity a glimpse of the crater's opposite wall. That view from the navigation camera on the rover is available online at www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mer… images/20060919.html .

"Opportunity has been heading toward Victoria for more than 20 months, with no guarantee it would ever get there, so we are elated to see this view," said Justin Maki of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., an imaging scientist on the rover team. "However, we still have another two or three short drives before Opportunity is really right at the rim, looking down into the crater."

Once Opportunity reaches the rim, the rover’s panoramic camera will begin the task of creating a high-definition color mosaic. That mosaic of images will provide scientists not only with a beautiful view of the crater, but will also provide geologic details of the crater walls.

The width of Victoria crater is the equivalent of eight football fields placed end to end. That makes it about five times wider than "Endurance Crater," which Opportunity spent six months examining in 2004, and about 40 times wider than "Eagle Crater," where Opportunity first landed.

The great lure of Victoria is the expectation that a thick stack of geological layers will be exposed in the crater walls, potentially several times the thickness that was previously studied at Endurance and, therefore, potentially preserving several times the historical record. Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, are robotic geologists with instruments for examining rocks to learn about the ancient environmental conditions that existed at the times the rocks were formed. Opportunity has already found exposed rock layers that were formed in flowing surface water and other layers formed as windblown sand. Analyzing the layers at Victoria could extend the story further back in time.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Video documents three-year trek on Mars by NASA rover

Oct 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- While NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity was traveling from Victoria crater to Endeavour crater, between September 2008 and August 2011, the rover team took an end-of-drive image on ...

Rover arrives at new site on martian surface

Aug 10, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- After a journey of almost three years, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached the Red Planet's Endeavour crater to study rocks never seen before.

Opportunity heads toward 'Spirit Point'

Jun 09, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- When NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reaches the rim of a large crater it is approaching, its arrival will come with an inspiring reminder.

Opportunity rover halfway point reached

Sep 09, 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 ...

Mars Rover Seeing Destination in More Detail

Jun 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 ...

Recommended for you

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

18 hours ago

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old ...

Hot explosions on the cool sun

Oct 20, 2014

(Phys.org) —The Sun is more spirited than previously thought. Apart from the solar eruptions, huge bursts of particles and radiation from the outer atmosphere of our star, also the cooler layer right below ...

Europe secures new generation of weather satellites

Oct 20, 2014

Contracts were signed today to build three pairs of MetOp Second Generation satellites, ensuring the continuity of essential information for global weather forecasting and climate monitoring for decades to ...

User comments : 0