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Postcards from Mars: The Amazing Photos of Opportunity and Spirit Rovers

Emerging from the Dust

In September 2018, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this aerial image of the Opportunity rover as the Martian skies began to clear.

(Image credit: NASA)

After a planet-wide dust storm in June 2018 blocked the Opportunity rover's solar panels, NASA scientists waited for images from the planet to clear. This image, captured Sept. 20 by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, was among the key signs that the sky was clearing, since engineers could see the rover again. The image was taken from 166 miles (267 kilometers) above the surface of Mars.

A "Sprained Ankle" Panorama

The Opportunity rover captured the photographs that were created to stitch together this panorama in June 2017.

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.)

Over nearly two weeks in June 2017, the Opportunity rover captured the images that make up this panorama view of Endeavor Crater and Perseverance Valley. The panorama was made possible by one of the rover's wheels getting stuck pointed the wrong way, the robot equivalent of a sprained ankle, hence the nickname.

A Nod to the Past

The Opportunity team dubbed this feature "Orion Crater" after visiting it on the 45th anniversary of Apollo 16, in April 2017.

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

The Opportunity team dubbed this fairly young feature "Orion Crater" because the rover passed by in April 2017, during the 45th anniversary of Apollo 16. That mission's lunar module was dubbed Orion. Scientists believe that Orion Crater, which stretches about 90 feet (27 meters) across, is less than 10 million years old.

Looking Back

Opportunity captured a dramatic photograph of its own tracks and a dust devil on March 31, 2016.

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

On March 31, 2016, the Opportunity rover captured this dramatic image of Its own tire tracks from its journey down a feature called "Knudsen Ridge." In the background is a dust devil, a common meteorological feature on Mars.

A Robot Geologist at Work

Opportunity's view of "Marathon Valley" rocks, captured on May 29, 2016.

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/USGS/ASU)

Opportunity captured this shot of rocks within Marathon Valley, highlighting its target at the time, "Private Joseph Field," on May 29, 2016. The image is a composite of four separate photographs taken by a camera on the rover's arm, plus data about rock colors from its panoramic camer.

Opportunity Surpasses Marathon Distance

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity achieved a cumulative driving distance surpassing that of a marathon race on March 24, 2015, as the rover neared a destination called "Marathon Valley," seen in the middle ground of this image taken in early March.

Opportunity Rover Surpasses the Distance of a Marathon Race

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Eleven years and two months after landing on Mars, NASA's Opportunity Mars rover has driven in total further than the length of a marathon race: 26.219 miles (42.195 km.).

Opportunity Mars Rover's View of Marathon Valley

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

This false-color view captured by NASA's Opportunity Mars rover shows part of Marathon Valley as seen from an overlook to the north. The image was taken by the rover's Pancam on March 13, 2015.

Map of Opportunity's Mars Marathon Route

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This map shows the progress NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity is making toward reaching a driving distance equivalent to a marathon footrace — 26.219 miles, or 42.195 kilometers.

Marathon Valley, Seen by NASA's Opportunity Mars Rover

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

This view from NASA's Opportunity Mars rover shows part of Marathon Valley, a destination on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, as seen from an overlook north of the valley. The image was taken on March 13, 2015 by the rover's PanCam.

Opportunity on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has been exploring Mars since 2004 and found its strangest Mars rocks yet in March 2015. Read the Full Story here.

Click the arrows to see more Mars photos by Opportunity and its silent sister Spirit.

Opportunity's Marathon

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

As of March 2015, Opportunity is current exploring a region known as Marathon Valley, where the rover is expected to complete the first ever official marathon distance on another world soon. Read the Full Story Here.

Opportunity Mars Rover's View from Cape Tribulation

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity captured the photos that make up this panorama from the top of Cape Tribulation, a segment of the rim of Endeavour Crater, in January 2015.

Opportunity Mars Rover's View from Cape Tribulation (False Color)

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity captured the photos that make up this panorama from the top of Cape Tribulation, a segment of the rim of Endeavour Crater, in January 2015. This version of the panorama is in false color, to highlight differences in surface materials.

Endeavour Crater Rim From 'Murray Ridge' on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

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). [Read the Full Story Here]

Opportunity's Tracks Near Crater Rim Ridgeline

NASA/JPL-Caltech

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). [Read the Full Story Here]

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