Bad Astronomy

Best. Mars. Picture. EVAH!

Holy Haleakale! Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is the spacecraft with the amazingly high-resolution HiRISE camera onboard. How high-res? Heh. Feast your eyes on this:

This is an overview of Victoria crater as seen from MRO. But at the upper left of the crater… see that silver blip? Here’s a zoom:

That silvery bump in the image is the rover Opportunity as seen from MRO in orbit around Mars!

It’s a dream of every would-be armchair space explorer (that means me too!) to actually see our hardware on the surface of another world, and HiRISE has delivered. You can easily see the rover’s tracks off to the upper left, and even the shadow of the camera mast to the lower right!

Incredible. Simply fantastic.

Opportunity reached Victoria crater recently and has been taking amazing pictures from close up. Sometimes, though, you need an overview, too. Here’s the whole crater as seen by MRO:

Gorgeous. Look at how the edges of the crater have collapsed in little landslides over the eons, and check out the detail on the dunes in the center.

And Opportunity is right there! We can see it!

Look what we’ve done!

Can you even imagine what we’ll be seeing in the coming months?