Spectacular View of Huge Mars Crater Caught by Old NASA Rover (Photo)

Endeavour Crater Rim From 'Murray Ridge' on Mars
This vista of the Endeavour Crater rim was acquired by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity from the southern end of "Murray Ridge" on the western rim of the crater. It combines several exposures taken by the rover's panoramic camera (Pancam) on the 3,637th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (April 18, 2014). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

The rim of a big Martian crater curves off into the distance in a gorgeous new photo taken by a long-lived NASA rover.

The image, a compilation of photos by NASA's Opportunity rover on April 18, provides a great look at the 14-mile-wide (22 kilometers) Endeavour Crater, which Opportunity has been exploring since August 2011.

"The small impact crater visible in the distance on the slopes of the far rim is about 740 feet (about 225 meters) in diameter and is 13 miles (21 kilometers) away," NASA officials wrote in a description of the image on Tuesday (May 20).

The component images for this 360-degree panorama were taken by the navigation camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity after the rover drove about 97 feet (29.5 meters) during the mission's 3,642nd Martian day, or sol (April 22, 2014). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

"The high peak in the distance on the right is informally named 'Cape Tribulation' and is about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) to the south of Opportunity's position when this view was recorded," they added. "The rim curves off to the left from Cape Tribulation in a series of peaks towards the far southern crater rim."

Opportunity was at a point along Endeavour's western rim called "Murray Ridge" when it captured the new image. The six-wheeled robot has since rolled southward, reaching and exploring some of the dark outcrops visible on the right side of the photo, officials said.

Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004, a few weeks after its twin, Spirit. The two rovers were tasked with 90-day missions to search for signs of past water activity on the Red Planet.

Mars 12 inch Globe Buy Here (Image credit: Space.com Store)

Both Spirit and Opportunity found plenty of such evidence, then kept exploring long after their warranties had expired. NASA declared Spirit dead in 2011, and Opportunity is still going strong today.

Opportunity has traveled 24.49 miles (39.41 km) on Mars to date, the greatest distance ever covered on the surface of another world by an American vehicle. The world record for offworld driving is held by the Soviet Union's remote-controlled Lunokhod 2 rover, which covered 26 miles (42 km) on the moon in 1973.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.