Revealing Mars InteractiveIf there were overtime on Mars, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers would be cashing in for a job well done! The original goal was to explore for three months, but NASA extended the mission many times over. Take a look at some of the magical views from their time on Mars.
Dusty Rover Selfie
These two self-portraits show dust settling on the rover solar panels (left) and wiped clean (right) by wind a few months later. More dust equals less sun and reduced power for operations, so we like to see clean panels!
A Dust Cleaning Event
A sundial like this one is on Opportunity and its twin rover, Spirit on Mars. The team uses the sundial to calibrate the camera's true color. Over time, dust piles up on the sundial and is swept away clean by wind events.
You Dirty RAT
This is a tool at the end of Opportunity's arm is called the Rat Abrasion Tool, RAT, for short. The team uses the RAT to brush rock surfaces.
Opportunity discovered these round rock spheres at its landing site. Scientists dubbed them "blueberries." Turns out these spheres form in water and are embedded in rock outcrops—sort of like blueberries in a muffin.
Brushing A Mars Rock
This image shows a rock target before and after using the rock abrasion tool, or RAT, at the end of the rover's robotic arm.
Mars Doughnut Found!
This is not a doughnut, but a piece of rock the rover flipped over during a drive. It became infamous after many people called it "Jelly Doughnut" because of its shape and color.
This is the "Block Island" meteorite Opportunity found. It is one of a few rare meteorites found on Mars, and the largest ever found. It is made of iron-nickel and about the size of a small ice chest.
Endurance Crater's Dazzling Dunes
As Opportunity crept deeper into "Endurance Crater," the dune field on the crater floor appears even more dramatic.
False color images like the one on the right enhance the differences between the various rock and mineral types.