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Spotlight On Mars - Image
On the Road Again
September 22, 2008
This animated gif is a combination of three still images. The first image shows Opportunity's shadow overlooking 'Victoria Crater.' The rover's robotic arm is raised in salute and forms a long, branchlike projection extending toward the crater's edge.  The second image shows the science instruments on Opportunity's robotic arm hovering above a rocky, sandy surface. Sunlight illuminates the instruments. To the right and left are the rover's right and left front wheels. In the distance is a curvy horizon as viewed by the fish-eye lens. 'Victoria Crater' is on the right.  The third image mosaic shows a panoramic view of ripples of sand surrounding the rim of 'Victoria Crater.' To the left are two sets of tracks created by Opportunity while driving partway around the crater and coming back to the sloping entrance known as 'Duck Bay.' To the right are some of the cliffs in the walls of the crater. Straight ahead, between two ripples, is a light-colored area of wind-streaked dust.

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity is on the road again. In typical shutterbug fashion, the rover sent a postcard of its travels. This time, the rover added a new touch -- raising its robotic arm in a final salute to "Victoria Crater." Opportunity spent a year inside the crater, studying the history of Mars as it is written in the rocks.

The first order of business after climbing out of the crater was to learn to use the robotic arm with a disabled shoulder joint. Opportunity drove toward an area of light-colored dust near the crater's edge for a closer look.

Soon, the rover will blaze a new, two-track highway across the Martian plains. Almost five years after landing, the rover shows no signs of stopping. If all goes well, Opportunity will continue sending postcards to Earth for a long time.

Images courtesy of: Front hazard avoidance cameras/Navigation camera

Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Higher Res Images:
  This false-color image shows an exposure of thin, horizontal layers of rock, colored a peachy-tan. Loose material and pearl-shaped pebbles colored light blue are scattered on top of and around the rock. In the foreground, near the bottom of the image, is a large rock, the outline of which is shaped somewhat like a political map of the state of Nevada.
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This image shows , in black and white, is a microscopic view of densely scattered dust particles coating the electrical wiring and tiny circuits of the rover's solar cells.
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This image, acquired by Spirit on June 19, 2008, is a black-and-white view of an array of solar cells next to the panoramic-camera calibration target, all obscured .
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