Online Astronomy eText: The Planets
On the Surface of Mars: Opportunity Mars Rover Link for sharing this page on Facebook
(placeholder to be enlarged to cover much of Opportunity's mission)
     Most of the pages on this site are held to a fixed width to accommodate viewing on older monitors, tablets and other mobile devices; but many rover images are, as in the case of this image, wide-field composites that require a wider format. Over time a selection of narrow and wide-field images will be added to this page as a partial record of Opportunity's progress and discoveries.
     Below, a panoramic 'true-color' view of Rub al Khali by Opportunity rover, May 2005. The name is taken from the 'Empty Quarter' in Saudi Arabia. Shallow sand waves stretch vast and desolate beyond the horizon. Wind-blown dust and sand is the predominant factor in sculpting the Martian surface in the present era, and has been for the last three and a half billion years. (Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA, apod050822)

     Below, an impact crater nicknamed Nereus encountered by the Opportunity Mars Rover on its way to Endeavour Crater in September 2009.
     Five years into its exploration of Meridiani Plani on Mars, the Opportunity rover passed this ten-yard-wide impact crater. Jagged rocks smashed and thrown outward by the impact are scattered across the dust and sand-covered landscape. (Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA; Image Processing: Kenneth Kremer, apod091019)

     Below, an approximately true-color wide-field view of Intrepid Crater, recorded on the 2,417th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Nov. 11, 2010). Intrepid Crater, named after the Apollo 12 lunar landing module, is about 20 meters or 65 feet in diameter. The much larger Endeavour Crater, the Opportunity rover's current goal, lies in the distance at upper right. If all goes well the rover will reach Endeavour in late 2011. (Note added December 2014: The rover long since reached Endeauvour and is still exploring the region.) (Image Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University, Planetary Photojournal)

     Jan 24, 2011 marked seven years and 2476 sols after Opportunity's arrival landing on Mars. In the panorama above, taken 12 sols earlier, the rover was only a few yards from the rim of the hundred foot wide Santa Maria crater. The multiple image below shows (on the left) the rover's circuitous route from its landing place (at the top), past Victoria crater to its present position, and its current destination (at the bottom), Endeavour crater; and at top right, the rover's approach to Santa Maria and its position at the time the view shown at lower right was obtained. (Image Credit NASA/JPL/Cornell Marco Di Lorenzo, Kenneth Kremer; panorama above from apod110129; mosaic below from article by Kenneth Kremer)