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The Little Rovers That Could
JULY 2005
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Multimedia: Opportunity Rover
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Online Extra: Rover Update
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Photo captions by Lynne Warren



Mars Rovers Update Image
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The Little Rovers That Could Gallery Photo

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Martian Hole-in-One
Image by JPL/NASA and Cornell/MSSS 

Bouncing into the bull's-eye, the Opportunity rover landed in this crater, 65 feet (20 meters) wide. The rocky outcrops along its rim promised a rich source of data to explore questions about liquid water on the red planet—where and when it existed, and how much there was. This bird's-eye view of Opportunity's first stop on Mars (bounce marks made by the lander air bags run from lower right to upper left, above) was pieced together from images made by the rover's own panoramic camera and data from the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor. Opportunity and its twin rover, Spirit, began their work in January 2004. Expected to function for just three months, the tough little robots are still exploring the planet 18 months later, surprising and delighting scientists with a steady stream of discoveries.
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