A View of Opportunity's Dance Moves
This rear hazard-avoidance camera image taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on the 37th martian day, or sol, of its mission (March 2, 2004) shows the tracks left by the rover during its latest "dance," or series of maneuvers, around the rock outcrop near its landing site. Note the view of the lander to the far left and the light-colored outcrop below the horizon. The rear solar panels, located above the rear hazard-avoidance cameras, are captured in the uppermost part of the image.
Since driving off the lander, Opportunity has traveled along the entire outcrop, trenched, and completed a U-turn to revisit scientifically rich spots. Two of these spots are the rock regions dubbed "El Capitan" and "Last Chance." Scientists have used the instruments on the rover's arm to conclude that this area of Mars was once soaked in water for extended amounts of time, possibly providing an environment favorable for life.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL
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