Mars up close, if not personal

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From fresh rover tracks to an impact crater blasted billions of years ago, a newly completed view from the panoramic camera on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the ruddy terrain where the voyaging robot spent the Martian winter.

The view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity as photographed during the Martian winter.

This scene, recorded from the mast-mounted color camera includes the rover’s own solar arrays and deck in the foreground, provides a sense of sitting on top of the rover and taking in the view. …

Its release this week coincides with two milestones: Opportunity completing its 3,000th Martian day on July 2, and NASA continuing past 15 years of robotic presence at Mars on July 4.

Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, landed on Mars in January 2004 for missions originally planned to last for three months.  NASA’s next-generation Mars rover, Curiosity, is on course for landing on Mars next month.

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