For those of you who haven’t seen this yet, it’s a very neat animation made from three days’ worth of images from the Opportunity rover as it climbed away from the rim of Victoria crater in late August 2008. The “shaky cam” look gives it a very you-are-there documentary feeling, especially since the height of the rover’s main cameras are about the same height as a person’s point of view. I especially like the lengthening shadows being cast by the 20-foot-high rock outcropping in the center, dubbed “Cape Verde” by the mission scientists. Rows of sand dunes in the center of the crater can be seen to the right.
If you were riding on the back of Opportunity on August 24, 26 and 28, 2008 (and you were color-blind) this is pretty much what you’d have seen.
The half-mile-wide Victoria crater was a target for the rover mission team because its exposed rock walls give insight on the past geology of the region. Opportunity spent two years exploring Victoria, and is currently en route to the much larger Endeavour crater, 25 times the size of Victoria.
Read the article on the mission website here.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University.