Latest Panoramic View from Mars Rover

by Nancy Atkinson on July 5, 2012

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What’s a Mars rover to do when there’s not enough power to rove? Take pictures. LOTS of pictures! This wonderful new panoramic view of the Opportunity rover’s stopping place this past Mars winter, Greeley Haven, is composed of 817 images taken between Dec. 21, 2011, and May 8, 2012. It shows fresh rover tracks and the rim of an ancient impact crater, Endeavour, which awaits more explorations from Opportunity. You’ll want to click and see a bigger version of it here.

But to get the full effect, check out this great interactive sphere of the panorama put together by John O’Connor of the NASATech website!

The images were taken with the color camera mounted on the mast of Oppy, providing a sense of sitting on top of the rover and taking in the view. This is actually a false color image, which emphasizes the difference between the materials.

“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,” said Jim Bell of Arizona State University, Tempe, Pancam lead scientist.

Opportunity has recently reached a milestone: On July 2, Opportunity reached its 3,000th Martian day, or Sol. You can read a great write-up of the accomplishment at the Road to Endeavour blog by Stu Atkinson, which includes interviews of rover drivers Scott Maxwell and Paolo Bellutta.

Stu also compiled this mosaic close-up of a RAT (Rock Abrasion Tool) hole drilled by Oppy into a rock called “Grasburg.”

Opportunity has recently started to take short drives coming off the long Martian winter, and the team notes in the latest update that the rover has been benefiting from solar array dust cleaning events, which increase the daily energy production: as of Sol 3001 (July 3, 2012), the solar array energy production was 577 watt-hours. That’s great news for future drives and the longevity of the long-lived rover, which has been on Mars since 2004. Truly, Oppy is the Energizer Bunny of rovers!

Lead image caption: This full-circle scene combines 817 images taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. It shows the terrain that surrounded the rover while it was stationary for four months of work during its most recent Martian winter. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

Second image caption: A close-up look at a hole drilled by Opportunity’s RAT (Rock Abrasion Tool). Mosaic of 4 microscopic imager photos by Stu Atkinson.

Source: JPL

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Robert Burns July 5, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Mars looks suspiciously like Oklahoma.

Robert Butler July 6, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Robert, you know what’s so funny about that comment? I live in Las Vegas, NV just 100 miles from Area 51 and I was thinking that Mars looks suspiciously like Red Rock Canyon.

Red Rock Canyon is the name of the desert area just west of Las Vegas. It gets it’s name from the red rock that is found everywhere here.

Check out this url. This is the most dramatic picture I could find of Red Rock Canyon which looks something like the pictures that Mars Rover took.

http://www.city-data.com/articles/images/img1761279.jpg

The most obvious feature you’ll notice in most pictures of the desert in Nevada is that they mostly have some clouds in them. I can tell you that from living here it’s very common to have days with zero clouds. I think pictures taken of the area usually contain clouds for effect but are not necessarily representative of the weather usually found here.

Thomas Houck July 9, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Yeah, it’s just a LOT colder.

michael interbartolo July 5, 2012 at 8:45 PM

The server is getting hammered right now there are a bunch of mirrors folks have put up for the 125MB jpg version
https://plus.google.com/116992234810067730471/posts/c77SX6ZWE4q

NancyAtkinson July 6, 2012 at 1:40 AM

Thanks Michael!

HeadAroundU July 6, 2012 at 9:36 AM

125MB? Are you guys crazy? Several MB would be enough for me or at least full screen. Now I have nothing.

michael interbartolo July 6, 2012 at 12:42 PM

the Tiff version is over 500 MB.

HeadAroundU July 7, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Haha, I was wondering if you would try to distribute it with torrents next time, but someone already mentioned it there…

Alright, now I have it. I guess I like false-colored blue rocks and red/green artefacts the most. :D

bugzzz July 6, 2012 at 1:01 AM

Hard to even believe its just sitting on Mars. What would George Washington think? :-)

Lorin Ionita July 6, 2012 at 6:38 AM

Oppy?

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE July 6, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Anthropomorphism.

Torbjörn Larsson July 6, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Opportunity, Opportunity everywhen.

JM July 6, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Is that the Sun I see when I move upwards from the horizon? If so, fascinating to see the apparent size of the Sun from Mars.

Dampe July 7, 2012 at 5:51 AM

Can anyone believe that people at my work think Mars and space is actually boring? I could stare at pictures of Mars for hours! It’s not just what you see, but the thought of what you are seeing!

Aqua4U July 7, 2012 at 2:15 PM

“…dust cleaning events…” Nearby Dust Devil? or a CME passage creating electrostatic levitation of the dust? or….

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