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Emily LakdawallaApril 9, 2014

Look how clean Opportunity is now!

You've heard from both Larry Crumpler and A. J. S. Rayl recently about how Opportunity has enjoyed a cleaning event that's left her solar panels sparkling in the sunshine. Here's a rover deck panorama to corroborate that story, newly processed by James Sorenson. I love how the position of the rover mast's shadow across the deck perfectly implies its presence and even height. (Opportunity, of course, cannot see her own camera mast.)

Opportunity deck panorama, sol 3611-3613 (22-24 March 2014)

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU / James Sorenson

Opportunity deck panorama, sol 3611-3613 (22-24 March 2014)
While climbing Murray Ridge, Opportunity enjoyed a major cleaning event that left the rover's solar panels cleaner than they had been in many years, powering the rover up for science.

Compare the photo with this one, taken last Mars winter, with the rover nearly camouflaged against the dusty ground:

Opportunity Deck Pan, December 2011 (sols 2811-2814)

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell

Opportunity Deck Pan, December 2011 (sols 2811-2814)
Opportunity used its Pancam to take the images combined into this mosaic view of the rover. The downward-looking view omits the mast on which the camera is mounted. Heading into its fifth Martian winter, Opportunity's solar panels were dustier than ever, requiring the team to choose an area of high northward tilt to increase power.

Read more: pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Opportunity, data art (was amateur image processing), Mars Exploration Rovers, pics of hardware on earth, Mars

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Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society
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