The Mars rover Opportunity marked its 3,000th Martian day of exploration on the surface of the Red Planet July 2, and sent home a sweeping panoramic view of the surface in celebration.
This full-circle scene combines more than 800 images taken by a panoramic camera mounted on Opportunity's mast, creating a sense that the viewer is taking in the view from atop the craft. The rover took the photos while stationed at a location the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) crew has named Greeley Haven on the rim of a chasm they've designated Endeavour Crater.
"The view provides rich geologic context for the detailed chemical and mineral work that the team did at Greeley Haven over the rover's fifth Martian winter," said Arizona State University scientist Jim Bell, who is the lead scientist for the panoramic camera on the collaborative government and academic team managing the mission.
Opportunity spent the winter at a spot named for the late scientist Ronald Greeley, a team member who died in 2011 after decades teaching planetary science at Arizona State.
Opportunity and its twin rover, Spirit, landed on Mars in January 2004 for missions planned to last three months. JPL lost the signal from Spirit in 2011, but Opportunity continues its exploration of Mars long past its expected life.
NASA's next-generation Mars rover, Curiosity, is on course for landing on Mars in August.