Destination: Endeavour


Endeavour's North Rim
Endeavour's North Rim

The Exploration Rover Opportunity, moving steadily across the low dunes of the Meridiani Plains while its sister Spirit is mired in soft sands half a planet away (temporarily we hope!), takes a photo of its eventual destination: the 14-mile-wide crater Endeavour, still several miles away.

The mountainous northern rim of the crater is visible on the horizon in this false-color image, taken earlier this week by Opportunity’s panoramic camera.

Opportunity has been traversing the sandy stretches of the plains between its previous exploration subject of Victoria crater and the much larger Endeavour crater, over 7 miles to the south. At the rate Opportunity is traveling, all the while making stops to investigate rock outcroppings and smaller craters along the way, it could take another 23 months to reach Endeavour.

Opportunity has already traveled over 2 miles from Victoria crater, after exploring there for two years.

Endeavour crater is 20 times larger than Victoria. It is named after the British navy research vessel captained by James Cook on his voyage to Australia in 1769.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech