Another great shot by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: this one of the Opportunity rover sitting on the edge of Santa Maria Crater. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment took this image on March 1, 2011, and also visible are the tracks in the Martian soil that Oppy created as she made her way to the crater.
“Opportunity has been studying this relatively fresh 90-meter diameter crater to better understand how crater excavation occurred during the impact and how it has been modified by weathering and erosion since,” said Matt Golombeck, a research geologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and part of the rover team. “Note the surrounding bright blocks and rays of ejecta.”
You can see a non-annotated image here. March 1 on Earth is the 2,524th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity’s work on Mars.
By the way, MRO celebrates its 5th anniversary of being in orbit of Mars on March 10. Wow, 5 years already? But its been 5 years of great images and discoveries, with wishes from all of us for many more!
Ken Kremer has put together a couple of collection of images that Opportunity has taken while at Santa Maria, some that he and others from Unmanned Spaceflight.com have processed and enhanced for sharper, colored views — this article contains several awesome panoramas, and here’s a collection of 3-D images.
Source: HiRISE website