High Viewpoint for 11-Year-Old Rover Mission on Mars

This panorama is the view NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity gained from the top of the "Cape Tribulation" segment of the rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover reached this point three weeks before the 11th anniversary of its January 2004 landing on Mars.

The component images were taken with Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam) during the week after the rover's arrival at the summit on Jan. 6, 2015, the 3,894th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars.

This location is the highest elevation Opportunity has reached since departing the Victoria Crater area in 2008 on a three-year, down-slope journey to Endeavour Crater. Endeavour spans about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter, with its interior and rim laid out in this 245-degree panorama centered toward east-northeast. Rover tracks imprinted during the rover's approach to the site appear on the left. The far horizon in the right half of the scene includes portions of the rim of a crater farther south, Iazu Crater. An orbital image showing the regional context is at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA13082.

The rover climbed about 440 feet (about 135 meters) in elevation from a lower section of the Endeavour rim that it crossed in mid-2013, "Botany Bay," in its drive to the Tribulation summit. It departed the summit on Jan. 17, 2015 (Sol 3902), continuing toward a science destination at "Marathon Valley."

At the summit, Opportunity held its robotic arm so that the U.S. flag would be visible in the scene. The flag is printed on the aluminum cable guard of the rover's rock abrasion tool, which is used for grinding away weathered rock surfaces to expose fresh interior material for examination. The flag is intended as a memorial to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. The aluminum used for the cable guard was recovered from the site of the twin towers in the weeks following the attacks. Workers at Honeybee Robotics in lower Manhattan, less than a mile from the World Trade Center, were making the rock abrasion tool for Opportunity and NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, in September 2001.

This version of the image is presented in approximate true color by combing exposures taken through three of the Pancam's color filters, centered on wavelengths of 753 nanometers (near-infrared), 535 nanometers (green) and 432 nanometers (violet).  The left edge is toward west-northwest and the right edge is southward.

Opportunity landed on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time (evening of Jan. 24, 2004, PST).

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

› False-color view

› Stereo view

Page Last Updated: January 22nd, 2015
Page Editor: Tony Greicius