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.

2011 May 8
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Shadow of a Martian Robot
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA

Explanation: What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn't human? Then you might be the Opportunity rover currently exploring Mars. Opportunity and sister robot Spirit have been probing the red planet since early 2004, finding evidence of ancient water, and sending breathtaking images across the inner Solar System. Pictured above, Opportunity looks opposite the Sun into Endurance Crater and sees its own shadow. Two wheels are visible on the lower left and right, while the floor and walls of the unusual crater are visible in the background. Although the Spirit rover is now stuck, Opportunity is continuing on its long trek to expansive Endeavor crater.

Tomorrow's picture: wonder and mystery

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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