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Opportunity goes panoramic on Victoria

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The Mars rover Opportunity has sent back yet another gobsmacking image from the red planet. This picture is close to true colour, the space agency says, and was captured from a spot known as Duck Bay.

Victoria crater on Mars, as seen by NASA's rover Opportunity

Victoria crater on Mars, as seen by NASA's rover Opportunity.

The rover has now travelled almost six miles from its landing site to reach the Victoria crater. It began its descent into the half-mile-wide hole in the ground two weeks ago and reached its first target inside Victoria on Wednesday last week.

Opportunity was then in a position to start examining the rock in the crater, although the slope of the ground meant mission managers had to run a series of safety checks before extending the rover's robotic arm to touch the ground.

The plan is to sample the rock at several different layers. This will allow scientists to build a picture of the formation of the crater, and to understand how it got its distinctive crazy-paving-esque appearance.

The picture above is a mosaic composed of at least 30 different images taken over a two day period. The prominence on the right hand side, known as Cape Verde, is 20 feet high and about 50 metres from the rover's current position. A similarly rugged, but much taller (50 feet) area of rocks on the right is known as Cabo Frio. ®

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