NASA said on June 14, 2016 that the Mars rover Opportunity is wrapping up its study of Marathon Valley, where the rover has been studying the Martian terrain since July, 2015. Before it goes, Opportunity collected a sweeping panorama – merging many exposures taken during April and May 2016 – from near the western end of this snaking valley. The view is partially, but superbly, captured in the video above. NASA said:
The vista shows an area where the mission investigated evidence about how water altered the ancient rocks and, beyond that, the wide floor of Endeavour Crater and the crater’s eastern rim about 14 miles (22 km) away.
Opportunity Principal Investigator Steve Squyres of Cornell University said:
We are wrapping up our last few activities in Marathon Valley and before long we’ll drive away, exiting along the southern wall of the valley and heading southeast.
By the way, the rover team chose the valley’s informal name because Opportunity’s arrival at this part of the rim coincided closely with the first-ever completion of a marathon distance by a rover on a another world. Opportunity completed the distance in 2015 – 26.2 miles (42.195 km) since its landing on Mars in 2004.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.