NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drove about 12 feet (3.67 meters) on May 8, 2012, after spending 19 weeks working in one place while solar power was too low for driving during the Martian winter. The winter worksite was on the north slope of an outcrop called Greeley Haven. The rover used its rear hazard-avoidance camera after nearly completing the May 8 drive, capturing this view looking back at the Greeley Haven. The dark shape in the foreground is the shadow of Opportunity's solar array. The view is toward the southeast.
Since landing in the Meridiani region of Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time and EST (Jan. 24, PST), Opportunity has driven 21.4 miles (34.4 kilometers).
Opportunity and its rover twin, Spirit, completed their three-month prime missions on Mars in April 2004. Both rovers continued for years of bonus, extended missions. Both have made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life. Spirit stopped communicating in 2010.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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