Opportunity arrives at Santa Maria crater

Continuing my catch-up… the Opportunity rover has spent the last several days so far examining its next major stopover on the way to Endeavour crater, the much smaller but amazing Santa Maria crater. The powerful impact that created it is evident in the complexity of the steep walls, jumbled and broken bedrock and outlying boulders still sitting where they were ejected a long time ago. Here are three good examples of the images (raw, unprocessed):

Credit: NASA/JPL
Credit: NASA/JPL

Dark sand dunes along the northern wall…

Credit: NASA/JPL

A panorama of the entire crater has been posted on the Mars Exploration Rover Mission web site (December 23). There are also some great enhancements and panoramas on Stuart Atkinson’s blog The Road to Endeavour (various recent posts). Take a look!