Drive Direction Image by Opportunity After Surpassing 20 Miles
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its navigation camera to record this view in the eastward driving direction after completing a drive on July 17, 2011, that took the rover's total driving distance on Mars beyond 20 miles.
Opportunity drove 407 feet (124 meters) during the 2,658th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's exploration of the Meridian Planum region of Mars. That drive brought Opportunity's total odometry to 20.01 miles (32.21 kilometers). It also brought Opportunity within about eight-tenths of a mile (about 1.3 kilometers) of the rim of Endeavour crater, which has been the rover team's long-term destination for Opportunity since mid-2008. Portions of the Endeavour rim are visible on the horizon in this image.
Opportunity and its rover twin, Spirit, completed their original three-month prime missions on Mars in April 2004. Both rovers continued for years of bonus, extended missions. Spirit finished communicating with Earth in March 2010. Both rovers have made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech