Sunday, August 15, 2021

Victoria crater

This beautiful crater on the Martian surface was the home of the Opportunity rover for a few months.

The crater, called Victoria from the name of one of Ferdinand Magellan's ships, has a diameter of about 800 meters and a depth of 70 meters.

Victoria was explored by Opportunity from sol 951 to sol 1630 (where the sols indicate the mission days spent by the rover on the Martian surface).

The rover reached the crater on September 26, 2006, arriving at its westernmost end (left in the perspective of this image). Opportunity initially circumnavigated the edge of the crater counterclockwise for a quarter of the circumference. It then retraced it steps and headed in the other direction, until it reached the southernmost part of the crater. From this point Opportunity left Victoria to head towards its next target: the Endeavor crater.

During its time around Victoria, the rover tested and improved its drive software and created a topographical map of the crater. The data collected also made it possible to study the nature of the black stripes visible in the upper part of the image.

During the trip, Opportunity also managed to enter inside Victoria, where it remained for 400 sol. During this time, the rover studied the properties of the rock layers of the crater floor and took some breathtaking panoramic images.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Cornell/Ohio State University.

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