These Pictures Are The Closest You Will Probably Ever Get To Mars

mars

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

Just a few days ago the Mars Rover Opportunity sent back this amazing shot giving us a glimpse into what the Red Planet really is like. Did you know that Mars is currently host to three functional orbiting spacecraft: Mars OdysseyMars Express, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and one on the surface, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

With another rover, Curiosity scheduled to land next month, we wanted to explore what we have seen of the Red Planet so far.

Let's start our tour by exploring the surface of the planet.

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and Earth's closest neighbour. It is called the red planet because the iron oxide on its surface gives it a reddish colour.

This is the rover, Opportunity.

Opportunity is a robotic rover currently exploring Mars and has been there since January 25, 2004.

Here is what opportunity probably looks like in action.

Since opportunity can't take self portraits, this is a digital image of what the rover might look like in action.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA.

Here is a photo Opportunity snapped.

Opportunity spent the Martian winter of 2012 here.

This photo is shown in false-colour view to emphasise the differences in the planet's composition.

Here is another beautiful shot of the surface.

This photo is also in false colour.

Here is a huge Martian crater...

This crater -- with a diameter of about 14 miles -- is over 25 times wider than other craters that Opportunity has previously approached during the rover's 8 years on Mars.

Source: Space.com

Here is Opportunity with its solar panels opened up.

This is a portion of the photo opportunity sent back to Earth most recently.

In case you missed it here is the full panorama photo.

This photo is a compilation of over 817 photos that opportunity sent back to Earth. The photos were taken between Dec. 21, 2011, and May 8, 2012.

Another photo from the surface...

A giant Martian crater

Opportunity snapped this photo Aug. 13, 2011 near the rim of the giant endeavour crater on Mars.

These small hills remind us of waves.

The newest rover, Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars on August 5

The LA Times says, 'August 5 will have been 10 years and $2.5 billion in the making, incorporating the work of 5,000 people in 37 states. And then, 154 million miles from home, the fate of the most ambitious machine humans have sent to another planet will rest on a seven-minute landing sequence so far-fetched it looks like something Wile E. Coyote devised to catch the Road Runner.'

Here is a video on the challenge of landing Curiosity:

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

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