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As Opportunity crept farther into "Endurance Crater," the dune field on the crater floor appears even more dramatic.
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08.06.2004

'Endurance Crater's' Dazzling Dunes

As Opportunity crept farther into "Endurance Crater," the dune field on the crater floor appeared even more dramatic. This approximate true-color panoramic camera image highlights the reddish-colored dust present throughout the scene.

In this image, sinuous tendrils of sand less than 1 meter (3.3 feet) high extend from the main dune field toward the rover. Scientists hoped to learn more about the characteristics of the dunes. Dunes are a common feature across the surface of Mars, and knowledge gleaned from investigating the Endurance dunes close-up may apply to similar dunes elsewhere.

Before the rover headed down to the dunes, rover drivers first established whether the slippery slope that lead to them was firm enough to ensure a successful drive back out of the crater. Otherwise, such hazards might make the dune field a true sand trap.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

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