Amazing Panorama of Mars’ Victoria Crater from Opportunity

The images coming from Mars seem to get better and better. Mars rover Opportunity is currently sitting in an alcove of Victoria Crater (called Duck Bay), in the Meridiani Planum region, carrying out rock sample analysis. The soon-to-be four year old robotic wheeled explorer has taken it’s fair share of pictures of the Martian landscape, but this most recent panoramic effort oozes with detail and color (and without a Red Planet Yeti in sight)…

The Mars Expedition Rovers (MER), Opportunity and Spirit have been trundling around on the Mars surface for nearly four years (can you believe it?), carrying out experiments on the Mars rock and regolith. These tests are be essential for future missions to the Red Planet. But, by far the most striking results come from the high definition, ground level images they transmit to Earth, to our computers and TV screens. And this panorama looking over the famous Victoria Crater is up there with the best pictures ever to be captured by the Mars rover missions.

This panorama comes from Opportunity‘s Pancam (panoramic camera) instrument taken over the course of 47 sols (or Martian days) from the 1,332nd to the 1,379th sol of the MER mission (from October 23 to December 11, 2007). Pancam applies three different filters (at 753, 535 and 432 nanometers – optical wavelengths, from red to blue) and mixes the three images to form this view. The color combination method helps the viewer to pick out features in the landscape and amplifies subtle color differences in the scene.
Looking over Duck Bay and the current position of Opportunity - MRO image (credit: NASA/JPL)
Probably the most startling features in the panorama are the rocky outcrops leading to the basin of the Victoria Crater toward the upper right of the image. On studying the scene, you can see tracks in the regolith formed by Opportunity‘s wheels leading up the slope in Duck Bay. The fine detail also reveals the cracked structure of the parched land stretch into the distance. The rover’s solar panels also display a feast of color, brightening up the red of the landscape.

See Duck Bay and the entrance to Victoria Crater in all its glory as a high-resolution image (very big file: 24MB, so be sure to have a fast connection, or a free morning – the wait will be worth it!). However, don’t expect to see anything of the much hyped Mars “Big Foot”, there ain’t no humanoids there


10 Replies to “Amazing Panorama of Mars’ Victoria Crater from Opportunity”

  1. A most amzing view of the big crater and surroundings, and I think somehow the tracks is man made by humans.
    It was worth waiting for.

  2. Jarrell: Hold a camera in your hand. Aim it at your feet. Congratulations, you’ve taken a picture of yourself.

  3. Great panorama. The viewing for me is enhanced when I try to get my bearing as if standing alongside the rover looking out into the crater. For example I was able to locate the solitary crater carved atop one of the rocky outcrops from this low angle view (it’s one of my favorite Victoria features) using an orbital overhead image. The crater’s just barely visible over the rim of the outcrop to the right of the promontory with the nick in it, right of center. What a wonderful time to be alive, witnessing these adventures.

  4. Am I the only one who needs an explanation as to what piece of equipment we are seeing in the photo?Is Opportunity taking a picture of itself? How?

  5. Being surrounded by Mars, it is such an amazing view. Much of it is surprisingly smooth.

    [The color is not right, fwiw. :)]

  6. If this is a panorama, it is very squished, sideways. Also, I see a six-inch humanoid figure in the middle of this image!

  7. There is a perfectly embossed disc in the close rocks on the left. What is that about? Does Mars come with cup holders? If so, how many? Is that what is fueling the Mars rovers? Martian lattes?

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