NASA orbiter spies Mars Rover at Victoria Crater

Victoria Crater imaged by Opportunity.The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) arrived at the Red Planet in March and has only recently moved into a prime position to begin science investigations.

Its view of Victoria Crater will help US space agency researchers decide where to send Opportunity, one of the two Mars robotic rovers which arrived on Mars in January 2004, to make ground observations.

The rover has been making its way to Victoria Crater for the past 21 Earth months - about half the length of time the robot has spent on the Red Planet.

Victoria Crater imaged by MRO.Imaged from a height of 275km by the MRO, the 2.3m-wide rover appears as a tiny dot.

The crater has high walls with layers of exposed rock that should reveal significant new information about the planet's geological past.

Professor Squyres said "With this enormous hole in the ground, we have the capability to see what lies beneath - to see down into the sub-surface of Mars, to look at a thicker stack of rocks than we are ever going to see anywhere else; and from that see a bigger slice of Martian geologic time."

Click on the images for a larger view.

Link: BBC &
Images: NASA
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