This photo of Victoria Crater was taken October 3, 2006 at 3:27 pm local Mars time. The rover, Opportunity, is at the lip of the crater. Opportunity’s tracks and the shadow of it’s camera mast are visible in the enlargement below. Those are sand dunes in the bottom of the crater.
Victoria Crater is approximately 800 meters (about half a mile) wide. The photographer was the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at an altitude of 268.6 km (167.9 miles) above the surface. The scale is 1 pixel = 12 inches. Click on this picture:
Opportunity arrived at the crater 5 days before the picture was taken after a 7 mile journey from the original landing site. The trip took 951 sols (or martian days). One sol equals 24 hours 39 minutes.
A series of severe dust storms throughout July 2007 have been blocking sunlight from reaching Opportunity’s solar panels, and the rover has been hunkered down to conserve power. The panels normally supply 700 watt hours per day. Below 150 watt hours, the batteries can’t fully charge. At the worst point, 99% of the sunlight was blocked and the solar panels only took in 128 watt hours per day, which is an emergency situation. To conserve power further, Opportunity only sent a signal back to Earth every 3 days.
The Opportunity Rover
However, there haven’t been any new storms for the last two weeks, and the sky is beginning to clear. Opportunity (and the Spirit rover on the other side of the planet) have started moving a little. The current plan is to drive Opportunity down into Victoria Crater at Duck Bay.
Here’s a picture Opportunity took from roughly it’s position in the orbiter picture. It’s taken across Duck Bay toward Cabo Frio. See the labeled orbiter photo below.
JPL Mission Control Room
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