The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this photo of the Opportunity rover traversing the sand dunes of Meridiani Plain from its position in orbit, 172 miles away. The rover’s tracks can be seen extending away up and right in this image. (North is up.)
Click the photo above to see the original cut shot. Opportunity is circled in the lower left of that version.
The photo at right shows the same approximate location, from the rover’s point of view. (Also check out the earlier article, Sailing a Dune Sea, for a color photo.)
The HiRISE camera on board the MRO satellite is capable of taking very hi-definition images, as seen here. Its photos are processed daily by a team at the University of Arizona to study the geology and topography of Mars in unprecedented detail.
The rovers are examining Mars at a more intimate level, traveling the dusty terrain on wheels and searching for signs of past (or present) water, the discovery of which could hint at the possible evolution of life.
Opportunity has left Victoria Crater behind and is currently en route to its next target site: the crater Endeavour. It’s estimated that it will take the rover another two years at its current speed to reach it.
Image credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona