Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is spending the seventh anniversary of its landing on Mars investigating a crater called “Santa Maria,” which has a diameter about the length of a football field. The view above been assembled from multiple frames taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on Opportunity during the 2,453rd and 2,454th Martian days, or sols, of the rover’s work on Mars (Dec. 18 and 19, 2010).
By mid-January 2011, Opportunity reached a location at the southeastern edge of Santa Maria crater. The rover team developed plans for Opportunity to spend a few weeks investigating rocks at that site during solar conjunction, a period when communications between Earth and Mars are curtailed because the sun is almost directly between the two planets. After completion of its work at Santa Maria, the rover will resume a long-term trek toward Endeavour, NASA JPL.
The NASA the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) is flying onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) mission sending back unique surface topography images of the Red Planet.