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.

2010 May 25
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Looking Back Across Mars
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA

Explanation: It's been a long trip for the Martian rover Opportunity. Last week Opportunity surpassed Viking 1 as the longest running mission on Mars, now extending well over six years. Pictured above, Opportunity's tire tracks cross a nearly featureless Martian desert, emanating from a distant horizon. Landing in 2004 in Meridiani Planum, the robotic Opportunity has embarked on its longest and most dangerous trek yet, now aiming to reach large Endeavor Crater sometime next year. Endeavor, it is hoped, holds new clues to the ancient geology of Mars and whether Mars could once have harbored life.

Tomorrow's picture: volcano stars

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