First off, it’s only a matter of time before humans set foot on Mars. NASA has just released a batch of mind-blowing images captured by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity that “shows the ruddy terrain where the voyaging robot spent the Martian winter.” The images you see above were “recorded from the mast-mounted color camera includes the rover’s own solar arrays and deck in the foreground, provides a sense of sitting on top of the rover and taking in the view.” Continue reading for more pictures and information.
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. Pancam lead scientist Jim Bell 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.’
Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, landed on Mars in January 2004 for missions originally planned to last for three months. NASA’s next-generation Mars rover, Curiosity, is on course for landing on Mars next month. Opportunity’s science team chose to call the winter campaign site Greeley Haven in tribute to Ronald Greeley (1939-2011), a team member who taught generations of planetary science students at Arizona State University.