Want to see Mars? NASA's panoramic view is the next best option

Want to take a trip to Mars? Well, this post won't help you get there (like this one could), but NASA's tenacious Opportunity rover is keen to offer you a glimpse. The space agency has released a massive panorama of the red planet's surface as the robotic explorer sees it.

The vista (which you can see larger below) is remarkably coherent for having been stitched together from 817 photos taken during the months of the last Martian winter Opportunity sat out. Those tracks you see out there are from earlier movements made by the explorer.

You can see the full panorama right here (click the image to expand):


Or see it in a super big blog-breaking size here.

Opportunity took the pictures you see here from Greeley Haven, a "northward sloped outcrop" that "angled the rover's solar panels toward the sun low in the northern sky during southern hemisphere winter," according to NASA. Greeley Haven is named from Ronald Greeley, a Mars Exploration Rover team member who died last year. Another fixture of Mars — the hill far out, far left in the panorama — is named Rich Morris Hill after Rich Morris, a mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who also died last year.


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