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3-D Images: Opportunity
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11-August-2011
 
 
'Spirit Point' Vista from Opportunity, in Stereo
'Spirit Point' Vista from Opportunity, in Stereo

This stereo scene shows the view from where NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity first arrived on the rim of Endeavour crater, an impact crater about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. The scene appears three dimensional when viewed through red-blue glasses with the red lens on the left.

The location of Opportunity's arrival at Endeavour is informally named "Spirit Point," as a tribute to Opportunity's rover twin, Spirit, which stopped communicating in March 2010 after more than six years of work on Mars.

The scene encompasses nearly a full circle, from northeast at the left, around to straight north at the right. The small crater on Endeavour's rim near the left edge of the scene is informally named "Odyssey," as a tribute to the Mars Odyssey orbiter, which has served as the communications relay for nearly all of the data sent by Opportunity and Spirit since they landed on Mars in January 2004.

Orbital observations suggest that the rim of Endeavour crater will offer Opportunity access to rocks from an earlier, less-acidic wet environment than the ancient wet environment that left its signature in rocks Opportunity has examined so far. "Cape York" is the Endeavor rim fragment that encompasses Spirit Point and Odyssey crater at its southern end, and extends about half a mile (800 meters) to the northeast. The next rim fragment counterclockwise around Endeavour begins at "Solander Point," on the horizon to the south, near the center of this view.

The tracks left by Opportunity's wheels as the rover arrived at the rim are visible on the right. For scale, the distance between the two parallel tracks is about 3.3 feet (1 meter).

Opportunity's navigation camera took the images that are combined into this mosaic. Some of the component images were taken on the 2,681st Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's work on Mars (Aug. 9, 2011). That was the sol that the rover completed a three-year journey of more than 13 miles (21 kilometers) from its last previous major destination, Victoria crater. The rest of the component images were taken the next sol.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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02-June-2011
 
 
Opportunity Beside a Small, Young Crater
Opportunity Beside a Small, Young Crater (Stereo)

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its navigation camera to take the exposures combined into this stereo view of a wee crater, informally named "Skylab," along the rover's route. The component images were taken during the 2,594th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (May 12, 2011), after Opportunity had driven 239 feet (72.7 meters) that sol.

The scene appears three dimensional when viewed through red-blue glasses with the red lens on the left.

This is a young crater about 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter. How young? The blocks of material ejected from the crater-digging impact sit on top of the sand ripples near the crater. This suggests, from the estimated age of the area's sand ripples, that the crater was formed within the past 100,000 years. The dark sand inside the crater attests to the mobility of fine sand in the recent era in this Meridiani Planum region of Mars.

The view spans 216 degrees of the compass, from northwest on the right to south on the right. It is presented as a cylindrical perspective projection.

Opportunity successfully completed its three-month prime mission on Mars in April 2004 and has continued in bonus extended missions since then. 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

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18-May-2011
 
 
Autonomous Hazard Checks Leave Patterned Rover Tracks on Mars Stero View
Autonomous Hazard Checks Leave Patterned Rover Tracks on Mars (Stereo)

A dance-step pattern is visible in the wheel tracks near the left edge of this scene recorded in stereo by the navigation camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity during the 2,554th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (April 1, 2011). The pattern comes from use of a new technique for Opportunity to autonomously check for hazards in its way while driving backwards. For scale, the distance between the parallel tracks of the left and right wheels is about 1 meter (about 40 inches).

The scene appears three dimensional when viewed through red-blue glasses with the red lens on the left.

The rover team routinely tells Opportunity to drive backwards because experience has shown this is less likely to increase the amount current drawn by the drive motor in the right-front wheel. More than two years ago, the right-front wheel on Opportunity began showing signs of drawing more current than other wheels. Opportunity's twin, Spirit, had shown similar elevated current in the right-front wheel for more than a year before that wheel on Spirit stopped working in 2006.

The view looks back after Sol 2554's drive at the tracks imprinted by the drive. The drive covered at total of 118.6 meters (389 feet). Rover drivers had planned the drive based on images taken from the rover's Sol 2553 location.

The first portion -- which imprinted the more distant, simpler, tracks -- was a backward "blind" drive. Rover drivers command blind drives -- either forward or backward -- when they can assess the safety of the terrain well enough from the images taken at the drive's starting point that they don't need the rover to pause and look for obstacles along the route. For the Sol 2554 drive over flat ground, the drivers chose a blind drive of 100 meters (328 feet). They commanded Opportunity to begin using backward autonomous navigation after it reached the end of the blind drive on that sol. That "backward autonav" driving imprinted the nearest portion of the tracks visible here.

The rover team began using the backward autonav strategy last year as a modification of forward autonav, which the team has used since the rovers' first year on Mars. In autonav mode, the rover pauses periodically during a drive, uses its stereo navigation camera to view the route in the intended drive direction, analyzes the images for potential hazards in the route, and makes a decision about what to do based on that analysis.

One catch, when driving backwards, is that the navigation camera's view is partially blocked over the rear of the rover by the low-gain antenna. So, lest a hazard be hidden behind that antenna, the backward autonav technique includes turning the rover 17.5 degrees away from the drive direction just before taking the navigation camera images. This gives the camera an unobstructed view in the drive direction. This little maneuver -- repeated every 1.2 meters -- is what created the dance-step pattern in the foreground portion of the rover tracks in this image.

In forward autonav, Opportunity can plot its own way around an obstacle and continue driving. In backward autonav, Opportunity just ends the drive for the day if the onboard analysis of images detects a hazard in the route. On the level terrain Opportunity has been crossing this spring on the trek from Santa Maria crater toward Endeavour crater, obstacles are few, so backward autonav has significantly extended the distance the rover can cover in one sol's driving.

This mosaic combining several pointings of the navigation camera is presented in a cylindrical-perspective projection. The center of the image is toward the northeast, and the full view covers a sweep of 252 degrees, from westward on the left to southeastward on the right.

Opportunity has been exploring the Meridiani Planum region of Mars since early 2004 in a mission originally planned to last for three months. Both Opportunity and Spirit 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 NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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04-May-2011
 
Martian 'Freedom 7' Crater 50 Years After Freedom 7 Flight (Stereo)
Martian 'Freedom 7' Crater 50 Years After Freedom 7 Flight (Stereo)

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity recorded this stereo view of a crater informally named "Freedom 7" shortly before the 50th anniversary of the first American in space: astronaut Alan Shepard's flight in the Freedom 7 spacecraft.

The image combines four frames that Opportunity took with its navigation camera during the 2,585th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (May 2, 2011). Shepard's suborbital flight lasted 15 minutes on May 5, 1961. Two of the frames come from the camera's left eye, the other two from its right eye. The scene appears three dimensional when viewed through red-blue glasses with the red lens on the left.

The crater is about 25 meters (82 feet) in diameter. It is the largest of a cluster of about eight craters all formed just after an impactor broke apart in the Martian atmosphere.

By taking advantage of seeing many craters of diverse ages during drives between major destinations, the Opportunity mission is documenting how impact craters change with time. The cluster that includes Freedom 7 crater formed after sand ripples in the area last migrated, which is estimated to be about 200,000 years ago.

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

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20-Jan-2011
 
 
Stereo Panorama of 'Santa Maria' Crater for Opportunity's Anniversary
Stereo Panorama of 'Santa Maria' Crater for Opportunity's Anniversary

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is spending the seventh anniversary of its landing on Mars investigating a crater called "Santa Maria," which has a diameter about the length of a football field.

This stereo panorama combines views from the left eye and right eye of Opportunity's panoramic camera, to appear three-dimensional when seen through blue-red glasses. It looks eastward across Santa Maria crater. Portions of the rim of a much larger crater, Endurance, appear on the horizon.

The panorama spans 225 compass degrees, from north-northwest on the left to south-southwest on the right. It has been assembled from multiple frames taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on Opportunity during the 2,453rd and 2,454th Martian days, or sols, of the rover's work on Mars (Dec. 18 and 19, 2010).

Opportunity landed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars on Jan. 24, 2004, Universal Time (Jan. 25, Pacific Time) for a mission originally planned to last for three months. Since that prime mission, the rover has continued to work in bonus-time extended missions. Both Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, have made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life.

By mid-January 2011, Opportunity reached a location at the southeastern edge of Santa Maria crater. The rover team developed plans for Opportunity to spend a few weeks investigating rocks at that site during solar conjunction, a period when communications between Earth and Mars are curtailed because the sun is almost directly between the two planets.

After completion of its work at Santa Maria, the rover will resume a long-term trek toward Endeavour.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU
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13-Jan-2011
 
 
View of 'Santa Maria' Crater from Western Rim, Sol 2454 (Stereo)
View of 'Santa Maria' Crater from Western Rim, Sol 2454 (Stereo)

This 360-degree, stereo mosaic of images from the navigation camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the view from the western rim of "Santa Maria" crater on the the 2,454th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's work on Mars (Dec. 19, 2010). The view appears three-dimensional when seen through red-blue glasses with the red lens on the left.

The crater is about 90 meters (295 feet) in diameter. East-southeast (110 degrees) is at the center, west-northwest at both ends.

This panorama combines right-eye and left-eye views presented as cylindrical-perspective projections.

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
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