Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2006 June 5
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The Road to Victoria Crater on Mars
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Cornell, JPL, NASA

Explanation: Here is a road never traveled. To get to Victoria Crater on Mars, the rolling robotic rover Opportunity must traverse the landscape shown above. Victoria Crater lies about one kilometer ahead. The intervening terrain shows a series of light rock outcrops that appears like some sort of cobblestone road. Surrounding this naturally-occurring Martian road, is Martian sand ripples that must be navigated around. Inspection of the outcrop road shows it to be sprinkled with many small round rocks dubbed blueberries. Opportunity and its sister robot Spirit continue their third year exploring Mars. Within the next month, planetary scientists hope to maneuver Opportunity across Meridiani Planum to get a good view of 800-meter diameter Victoria Crater.

Tomorrow's picture: nebula Z

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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& Michigan Tech. U.