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Press Release Images: Opportunity
08-Jun-2011
Opportunity Heads Toward 'Spirit Point'
Press Release
Opportunity's First Goal at Endeavour Crater: 'Spirit Point'
Opportunity's First Goal at Endeavour Crater: 'Spirit Point'

This oblique view with moderate vertical exaggeration shows the portion of the rim of Endeavour crater given the informal name "Spirit Point." This is the location where the team operating NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity plans to drive the rover to its arrival at the Endeavour rim.

Endeavour crater has been the rover team's destination for Opportunity since the rover finished exploring Victoria crater in August 2008. Endeavour, with a diameter of about 14 miles (22 kilometers), offers access to older geological deposits than any Opportunity has seen before. The western rim of Endeavour has a series of ridges. Spirit Point is the southern edge of a ridge called "Cape York."

This view, as if looking toward the north from an aircraft over the western edge of Endeavour, was created from computer modeling based on a stereo pair of images taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The vertical dimension is exaggerated three-fold, compared to horizontal dimensions. For scale, the Cape York ridge is about 400 feet (about 120 meters) across. Between this ridge and the next ridge segment of the rim to the south lies a gap informally named "Botany Bay."

Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, completed their three-month prime missions in April 2004 and continued operations in bonus extended missions. Spirit stopped communicating in March 2010 as energy available to the rover declined. Calling Opportunity's first Endeavour contact site Spirit Point honors the accomplishments of the Spirit mission. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reached Mars in 2006, completed its prime mission in 2010, and is also working in an extended mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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'Eagle to Endeavour: Opportunity's Path, Sol 2609
Eagle to Endeavour: Opportunity's Path, Sol 2609

The yellow line on this map shows where NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity has driven from the place where it landed in January 2004 -- inside Eagle crater, at the upper left end of the track -- to a point about 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers) away from reaching the rim of Endeavour crater.

Endeavour crater has been the rover team's destination for Opportunity since the rover finished exploring Victoria crater in August 2008. Endeavour, with a diameter of about 14 miles (22 kilometers), offers access to older geological deposits than any Opportunity has seen before.

In honor of Opportunity's rover twin, the team has chosen "Spirit Point" as the informal name for the site on Endeavour's rim targeted for Opportunity's arrival at Endeavour. Spirit, which worked halfway around Mars from Opportunity for more than six years, ended communication in March 2010.

Opportunity reached the point in its traverse indicated on this map on the 2,609th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (May 27, 2011). By that sol, Opportunity had driven a total of 18.58 miles (29.9 kilometers). By Sol 2619 (June 6, 2011) it had driven an additional 0.19 mile (0.32 kilometer).

The western rim of Endeavour has a series of ridges. Spirit Point is the southern edge of a ridge called "Cape York." Farther south on the rim, a ridge called "Cape Tribulation" offers exposures identified from orbit as clay minerals.

The base map is a mosaic of images from the Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It is used by rover team member Larry Crumpler of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque, for showing the regional context of Opportunity's traverse.

Opportunity and Spirit completed their three-month prime missions in April 2004 and continued operations in bonus extended missions. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reached Mars in 2006, completed its prime mission in 2010, and is also working in an extended mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the orbiter's Context Camera.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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