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Emily LakdawallaSeptember 15, 2009

Opportunity's highway, and a tour of Block Island

Just a cool image to start the morning: after a 70-meter drive yesterday, Opportunity's following not one but two sets of its own tracks. (After the drive on sol 1,950, Opportunity's drivers decided to backtrack in order to investigate Block Island; the tracks you see here were made on sols 1,950 and 1,952. These images were captured on sol 2,006.

Opportunity Navcam panorama, sol 2,006

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Eduardo Tesheiner

Opportunity Navcam panorama, sol 2,006
On sol 2,006, Opportunity captured a forward view that included two sets of its own tracks, made on sols 1,950 and 1,952 as the rover had gone out and then backtracked to visit the meteorite named Block Island.

Opportunity is heading a bit north of west, almost directly away from Endeavour crater. They're taking the detour in order to stay on good driving ground and avoid a nasty looking dune field full of "purgatoids" -- the kinds of dunes that kept Opportunity trapped for a little while back in 2005.

Before hitting the road again, Opportunity did a little driving tour around the Block Island meteorite. A member of unmannedspaceflight.com put together this neat animation of six color views of Block Island. If you'd like it in Quicktime form so you can rotate it back and forth, you can download that here (warning, it's 26 MB).

A tour around Block Island

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / color composites and animation by Stuart Atkinson and Astro0

A tour around Block Island
Opportunity captured these six views of the huge meteorite named "Block Island" from sols 1,959 to 2,002. A Quicktime version of the animation is available here (26 MB).

Read more: pretty pictures, Opportunity, amateur image processing, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars, animation

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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