Opportunity's View Downhill Catches Martian Shadows

December 06, 2017

Late-afternoon shadows include one cast by the rover itself in this look toward the floor of Endeavour Crater by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. The rover recorded this scene on Nov. 11, 2017, during the 4,911th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. That was about a week before Opportunity's eighth Martian winter solstice.

Opportunity's location is partway down a narrow valley that descends from the crest of the western rim of Endeavour Crater to the crater's floor. This fluid-carved set of troughs, called "Perseverance Valley," is the length of about two football fields, at a slope of about 15 to 17 degrees.

The Navigation Camera (Navcam) on Opportunity's mast took the three component images stitched together into this scene. The images were taken about three minutes apart, long enough to see how the shadow was changing on the slope, at the seams between the images. Wheel tracks in the lower right of the scene were made before the rover climbed back uphill for a closer look at some rocks it had passed. The portions of the rover in the shadow at upper right include the mast with the Navcam and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) on top and the UHF radio antenna, which Opportunity uses to transmit images and other data to overflying orbiters for relay to Earth.


Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


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