Categories: MarsMissions

Satellite View Shows Opportunity Mars Rover Still Hard at Work 10 Years On

Ten years to the day after the Opportunity rover launched to Mars, the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped this image of the rover, still toiling away on the surface of Mars. The white dot in the image is Oppy, as the rover was crossing the level ground called “Botany Bay” on its way to a rise called “Solander Point.” We’re looking into whether there’s a way to determine if the rover was actually moving at the time the image was taken.

This, of course, is not the first time HiRISE has found the various rovers on Mars’ surface. Images from orbit help rover drivers find safe routes, as well as helping to identify enticing science targets for future investigation.

“The Opportunity team particularly appreciates the color image of Solander Point because it provides substantially more information on the terrains and traverse that Opportunity will be conducting over the next phase of our exploration of the rim of Endeavour crater,” said Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist Matt Golombek, from JPL.

an oblique, northward-looking view based on stereo orbital imaging, shows the location of Opportunity on its journey from Cape York to Solander Point when HiRISE took the new color image. Endeavour Crater is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. The distance from Cape York to Solander Point is about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers). The red line indicates the path the rover has driven. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona.

Opportunity currently holds the US space program’s all-time record for distance traversed on another planetary body at greater than 36 kilometers or 22 miles. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team recently confirmed that the Lunokhod 2 rover traveled 42 km (26 miles) on the Moon.

Opportunity was launched from on July 7, 2003, PDT and EDT (July 8, Universal Time). Opportunity has been on the western rim of 20-kilometer-diameter Endeavour Crater in Meridiani Planum for about two years investigating the 3 to 4 billion-year-old sedimentary layers of Cape York. Now the rover is traversing south to new science targets and a winter haven at Solander Point.

Keep on truckin’!

See more details at JPL and HiRISE.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nancy_A and and Instagram at and https://www.instagram.com/nancyatkinson_ut/

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