July 17, 2013
PASADENA, Calif. -- An image from Mars orbit taken 10 years after the launch of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the long-lived rover on its trek to a new destination on Mars.
The color image taken July 8, 2013, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter catches Opportunity crossing relatively level ground called "Botany Bay" on its way to a rise called "Solander Point."
"The Opportunity team particularly appreciates the color image of Solander Point because it provides substantially more information on the terrains and traverse that Opportunity will be conducting over the next phase of our exploration of the rim of Endeavour crater," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Scientist Matt Golombek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Opportunity was launched from Florida's Space Coast on July 7, 2003, PDT and EDT (July 8, Universal Time). The rover finished nearly two years of investigating an area called "Cape York" two months ago. Both Cape York and Solander Point are raised portions of the rim of Endeavour Crater, which is 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter.
HiRISE first imaged Opportunity in 2006, the year Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter began orbiting Mars with six science instruments. The rover had then just reached the edge of Victoria Crater, which is half a mile (800 meters) in diameter. Opportunity spent two years investigating Victoria Crater before heading toward much-larger Endeavour Crater.
HiRISE is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson. The instrument was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project and Mars Exploration Rover Project are managed for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, by JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
For more information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mro . For more information about Opportunity, visit http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov .
Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory