'Victoria' After Sol 950 Drive
A drive of about 30 meters (about 100 feet) on the 950th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's exploration of Mars' Meridiani Planum region (Sept. 25, 2006) brought the NASA rover to within about 20 meters (about 66 feet) of the rim of "Victoria Crater." From that position, the rover's navigation camera took the six exposures combined into this view. The scalloped shape of the crater is visible on the left edge. Due to a small dune or ripple close to the nearest part of the rim, the scientists and engineers on the rover team planned on sol 951 to drive to the right of the ripple, but not quite all the way to the rim, then to proceed to the rim the following sol. The image is presented in cylindrical projection with geometric seam correction.
Victoria Crater is about 800 meters (one-half mile) in diameter, about five times wider than "Endurance Crater," which Opportunity spent six months examining in 2004, and about 40 times wider than "Eagle Crater," where Opportunity first landed. The great lure of Victoria is the expectation that a thick stack of geological layers will be exposed in the crater walls, potentially several times the thickness that was previously studied at Endurance and therefore, potentially preserving several times the historical record.
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Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech