Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Opportunity's Traverse Map Through Sol 3486

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been working on Mars since landing inside Eagle Crater on January 25, 2004 (Universal Time; evening of January 24, Pacific Standard Time). The gold line on this image shows Opportunity's route from the landing site, in upper left, to the area it is investigating on the western rim of Endeavour Crater as the date approaches for the rover's 10th anniversary on Mars, in Earth years.

The map shows Opportunity's location as of the 3,486th Martian day, or sol, of its exploration of Mars (November 13, 2013). By that sol, it had driven 24.01 miles (38.64 kilometers) and was ascending "Murray Ridge" above "Solander Point" on the rim of Endeavour Crater. The features are all within the Meridiani Planum region of equatorial Mars, which was chosen as Opportunity's landing area because of earlier detection of the mineral hematite from orbit.

The base image for the map is a mosaic of images taken by the Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The 5-kilometer scale bar is 3.1 miles long, and the diameter of Endeavour Crater is about 14 miles (22 kilometers). North is up.

Opportunity completed its three-month prime mission in April 2004 and has continued operations in bonus extended missions. It has found several types of evidence of ancient environments with abundant liquid water. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reached Mars in 2006, completed its prime mission in 2010, and is also working in an extended mission.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS

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