NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity has been exploring the red planet for the last eight years. Several photos have been beamed back to earth over the years but today’s photo is something different. It’s a panoramic view of the martian landscape.
NASA reports that the photo was taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity near “Greeley Haven,” a segment of the ancient Endeavour Crater.
“It was assembled from 817 component images taken between Dec. 21, 2011, and May 8, 2012, while Opportunity was stationed on an outcrop informally named “Greeley Haven,” on a segment of the rim of ancient Endeavour Crater.”
The panoramic Mars photo comes just as the Rover Opportunity celebrates its 3,000th day on Mars. It also coincides with NASA’s 15th year on Mars. The Mars Pathfinder landed on the Red Planet on July 4, 1997.
Jim Bell of Arizona State University, Tempe, Pancam lead scientist, said:
“The view provides rich geologic context for the detailed chemical and mineral work that the team did at Greeley Haven over the rover’s fifth Martian winter, as well as a spectacularly detailed view of the largest impact crater that we’ve driven to yet with either rover over the course of the mission.”
The Rover Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, have been on Mars since January 2004. They will soon be joined by the Mars Rover Curiosity, which is scheduled to touch down on the red planet next month.
Here’s the panoramic photo of Mars taken by the Rover Opportunity.