Opportunity’s parting shot


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Opportunity's last panorama
Click for full image.

The Opportunity science team today released the last full 360 degree panorama taken by the rover last spring, prior to the global dust storm that ended its fifteen year mission on Mars.

Over 29 days last spring, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity documented this 360-degree panorama from multiple images taken at what would become its final resting spot in Perseverance Valley. Located on the inner slope of the western rim of Endurance Crater, Perseverance Valley is a system of shallow troughs descending eastward about the length of two football fields from the crest of Endeavor’s rim to its floor.

“This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery,” said Opportunity project manager John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “To the right of center you can see the rim of Endeavor Crater rising in the distance. Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geologic features that our scientists wanted to examine up close. And to the far right and left are the bottom of Perseverance Valley and the floor of Endeavour crater, pristine and unexplored, waiting for visits from future explorers.”

If you click on the image above you can go to the full image and zoom and scan across it.

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One comment

  • Milt Hays, Jr.

    As Carl Sagan once observed, Mars is not just a point of light in the sky but an actual place, as demonstrated by this magnificent panorama. This transition from thinking about Mars as a reddish speck of light in the heavens to a potential second home for man did not, of course, begin with Dr. Sagan (Lowell, Burroughs, and Bradbury were chiefly responsible for that), but he probably did as much as anyone to get people to thinking about it as a landscape, a real, physical environment, complete with sunsets, seasons, and frigid starry nights.

    In his message to future Mars explorers

    https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/08/08/carl-sagan-message-to-mars/

    he anticipated a time when waking across this kind of broken, not too otherworldly terrain would become ordinary. For now, Opportunity and its sister vehicles are our avatars on this distant world, our eyes, ears, and (most recently) our touch as we probe into its interior), but will this always be so?

    For the first time in almost fifty years, people feel that something is again stirring; something that seemed to have died at the end of the Apollo missions as NASA turned inward, succumbed to the bureaucratic imperative, and seemingly lost its way. After half a century of missed opportunities and false starts, a few visionaries seem to have recovered an image of Mars as an inhabitable world — a place, if you will, between the ghosts of Ray Bradbury’s imagined ancient civilization and the “dead, desiccated” world of the early instrumented flybys. A real PLACE — as in the Opportunity image — to be visited, walked on, and lived in.

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