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An “Opportunity” to See

Sometimes the Martian surface can look pretty bleak and uninspiring.  But then, there are those images that come from NASA’s Opportunity rover that just wow you!  This image released by NASA came from Opportunity’s Pancam does just that!  This image is a composite of about a dozen images  from the basin of the Endeavour crater taken in multiple wavelengths during the Martian sunset.  The different wavelengths allow for increased contrast between different regions in the crater such as the rocky terrain at the base of the rover to the dunes, and the eastern rim in the background.  The Endeavor crater is 14 miles (22 kilometers) across which is big enough to cover the entire area of Seattle!  The  resilient Opportunity rover has been roaming the Red Planet’s surface for an amazing eight years and still produces amazing images and useful science!  It’s successor, the Curiosity rover, will touch down on Mars on August 5th, 2012 via live video stream from an on-board camera so you won’t want to miss that!

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

Mars Images App

Mars Images app

Smartphones really can do some amazing things!  The latest app I downloaded to my iPhone is the Mars Images app from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  It uses the comm uplink from the long-lived Martian rover Opportunity and downloads them directly to your phone or tablet!  How cool is that?!  The Opportunity rover is currently “hibernating” during the harsh Martian winter but there is a pretty large cache of images already stored.  There will also be the opportunity to see images from JPL’s newest rover Curiosity when it arrives on the Red Planet in August.  You can download the app for your iOS device or Android.

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