This full-circle scene combines 817 images taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. It shows the terrain that surrounded the rover while it was stationary for four months of work during its most recent Martian winter. (Photo : NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizo)
NASA's latest news release entitled "Mars Panorama - Next Best Thing to Being There" features a high density picture of what the landscape of a normal day on the Martian surface may look like.
The breath-taking picture however doesn't represent a single shot on a single day from the Rover's onboard camera, the Pancam (panoramic camera), but an assembly of shots, 817 takes to be specific, between the dates of Dec. 21, 2011 and May 8, 2012.
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In the picture, it is apparent that Mar's surface reflects a brownish and orange-ish color, but NASA has explained that some colors are in fact false colors, included to distinguish between materials in the scene.
In the picture, one can also view the rover's tracks imprinted on Martian soil including the Rover's own solar panels.
NASA has announced that the date of the release of this picture coincides with two specific milestones: Rover Opportunity's 3,000th day on Mars (July 2) and NASA's 15-year mark of robotic presence in red planet (July 4, 1997).
Two rovers, the Opportunity and the Spirit landed on Martian territory on January 2004.
An additional rover, the Curiosity, will land on Mars in August.
(Click to enlarge photo for a more complete view)