Fading Rover Opportunity Tracks near Victoria Crater
Fading Rover Opportunity Tracks near Victoria Crater
ESP_013954_1780  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
In this composite image, we show a close-up of the tracks, as well as 6 previous HiRISE views acquired since June 2007, shortly after Opportunity’s drive.

The span encompasses over a full Mars year, from southern spring to the following summer. Both the grayscale images at the top of each sequence and the color below show a progressive fading of the tracks over time. The color also shows that the tracks are initially fairly red and become bluer. This is because the weight of the rover pushed dark granules into the relatively bright, red Martian soil. Since then, dark sand has blown out of Victoria and partially covered the tracks, darkening the surface.

Victoria Crater was explored by Opportunity rover for more than a Mars year; HiRISE images have supported surface exploration and contributed to joint scientific studies.

HiRISE stereo data were used to measure slopes and help select safe paths for the intrepid rover. The most interesting exposures of geologic strata are in the steep walls of the crater, difficult to image from the overhead perspective of orbiting spacecraft like MRO. However, MRO can point to the sides, and did so in this case to get a better view of layers in the west-facing and sunlit slopes of the crater.

Especially prominent is a bright band near the top of the crater wall, interpreted by some MER scientists as having formed by diagenesis (chemical and physical changes in sediments after deposition). This bright band separates the bedrock from the impact ejecta deposits of Victoria Crater.

The subimage has been rotated so that we are looking east, with MRO pointed 22 degrees east of straight down, so it is comparable to a view from an airplane window. Colors have been enhanced to show subtle differences.

Written by: Nathan Bridges and Alfred McEwen  (23 September 2009)
Acquisition date
18 July 2009

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
268.4 km (166.8 miles)

Original image scale range
29.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~89 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
41°, with the Sun about 49° above the horizon

Solar longitude
305.7°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  334.1°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (1110MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (542MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (521MB)
non-map           (503MB)

IRB color
map projected  (188MB)
non-map           (468MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (314MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (331MB)

RGB color
non map           (458MB)
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.