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From the Edge of a Crater, Amazing New Pics of Mars

NASA's last Mars rover Opportunity arrived at the giant crater Endeavour, after nearly three years of intrepid driving across the surface of the Red Planet -- and what a view!..

West Rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars

August 11, 2011: A portion of the west rim of Endeavour crater sweeps southward in this color view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. This crater -- with a diameter of about 14 miles (22 kilometers) -- is more than 25 times wider than any that Opportunity has previously approached during the rover's 90 months on Mars.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

West Rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars false color

August 11, 2011: A false color view of the west rim of Endeavour crater emphasizes differences among materials in the rocks and the soils. This view combines exposures taken by two cameras on Opportunity.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

Ridout Rock NASA Rover

Aug. 13, 2011: NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity looked across a small crater on the rim of a much larger crater to capture this raw image from its panoramic camera during the rover's 2,685th Martian day, or sol, of work on Mars.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

View Across Endeavour Crater

Aug. 14, 2011: NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its panoramic camera to capture this raw image looking across Endeavour crater during the rover's 2,686th Martian day, or sol, of work on Mars.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/AS

Small Odyssey Crater on Rim of Huge Endeavour Crater

August 11, 2011: After arrival, Opportunity used its panoramic camera (Pancam) to record the images combined into this mosaic view. The view scene shows the "Spirit Point" area of the rim, including a small crater, "Odyssey" on the rim, and the interior of Endeavour beyond.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

Arrival at Spirit Point 1

Aug. 11, 2011: NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity arrived at the rim of Endeavour crater on Aug. 9, 2011, after a trek of more than 13 miles (21 kilometers) lasting nearly three years since departing the rover's previous major destination, Victoria crater, in August 2008. After arrival, Opportunity used its panoramic camera (Pancam) to record the images combined into this mosaic view. The view scene shows the "Spirit Point" area of the rim, including a small crater, "Odyssey" on the rim, and the interior of Endeavour beyond.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

Arrival at Spirit Point by Mars Rover Opportunity

Aug. 11, 2011: NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity arrived at the rim of Endeavour crater on Aug. 9, 2011, after a trek of more than 13 miles (21 kilometers) lasting nearly three years since departing the rover's previous major destination, Victoria crater, in August 2008. After arrival, Opportunity used its panoramic camera (Pancam) to record the images combined into this mosaic view. The view scene shows the "Spirit Point" area of the rim, including a small crater, "Odyssey" on the rim, and the interior of Endeavour beyond.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

The Spirit Rover

The solar-powered rovers Spirit and Opportunity dazzled scientists and the public with their rolling, long running scrutiny of the surface of Mars. The two rovers were originally planned for a three-month mission at a cost of $820 million, but managed to eek out far more years of exploration. Here, some older images the rovers have taken. 

NASA

Troy

This full-circle view from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the terrain surrounding the location called "Troy," where Spirit became embedded in soft soil during the spring of 2009.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

Spirit Mission

As Spirit drove beside the western edge of a low plateau called Home Plate, its wheels broke through a crusty surface and churned into soft sand hidden underneath. 

NASA

Spirit Mission

Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004. Opportunity arrived at the rim of Endeavour crater on Aug. 9, 2011, after a trek of more than 13 miles (21 kilometers) lasting nearly three years since departing the rover's previous major destination, Victoria crater, in August 2008.

NASA

Moving Backwards

Mike Seibert and Sharon Laubach, engineers on the Mars Exploration Rover team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, check the exact position of a test rover in preparation for a test of straight-backward driving.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Troy Soil

Jun 25: The soft soil exposed when wheels of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit dug into a patch of ground dubbed "Troy" exhibit variations in hue visible in this image, in which the colors have been stretched to emphasize the differences.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University

Spirit Mission

Recent drives have yielded the best results since Spirit became embedded. However, the coming winter mandates a change in strategy. It is mid-autumn at the solar-powered robot's home on Mars. Winter will begin in May. Solar energy is declining and expected to become insufficient to power further driving by mid-February. 

The rover team plans to use those remaining potential drives for improving the rover's tilt. Spirit currently tilts slightly toward the south. The winter sun stays in the northern sky, so decreasing the southward tilt would boost the amount of sunshine on the rover's solar panels. 

NASA

Spirit Mission

This full-circle view from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the terrain surrounding the location called "Troy," where Spirit became embedded in soft soil during the spring of 2009. 

 

NASA

Spirit Mission

This full-circle view from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the terrain surrounding the location called "Troy," where Spirit became embedded in soft soil during the spring of 2009.

NASA

Spirit Stretches

Spirit recorded this forward view of its arm and surroundings during the rover's 2,052nd Martian day. Bright soil in the left half of the image is loose, fluffy material churned by the rover's left-front wheel.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Bonestall

This 180-degree panorama shows the southward vista from the location where Spirit spent its third Martian winter inside Mars' Gusev Crater. The rover's over-winter location is on the northern edge of a low plateau informally called "Home Plate," which is about 80 meters or 260 feet in diameter.

NASA/JPL/Cornell

Home Plate

February 28, 2008: NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has this view northward from the position at the north edge of the "Home Plate" plateau where the rover will spend its third Martian winter. Husband Hill is on the horizon. The dark area in the middle distance is "El Dorado" sand dune field.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University

From the Edge of a Crater, Amazing New Pics of Mars

NASA's last Mars rover Opportunity arrived at the giant crater Endeavour, after nearly three years of intrepid driving across the surface of the Red Planet -- and what a view!..

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