NASA’s MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) made a new observation capturing the landing platform that the rover Opportunity left behind in Eagle Crater over 13 years and 27 miles ago. A sequence of tumbles and bounces after the original touchdown pushed the airbag-cushioned lander into the crater, about 72 feet (22 meters) across, on 25th January 2004, Universal Time. The scene comprises of Eagle Crater and Opportunity’s adjacent parachute and back shell, from the 10th April 2017, observation by MRO’s HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera.


This is the first view from HiRISE of the Eagle Crater scene. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter began orbiting Mars more than two years after Opportunity’s landing. One of the first images from HiRISE in 2006 indicated Opportunity at the edge of a much bigger crater, Victoria, almost 4 miles south of the landing site.

Eagle Crater is at the upper right of the new image. The lander platform’s job was completed after the rover rolled off it. The parachute and back shell are at the lower left. The smattering of small craters on a broad plain is a reminder of the surprise experienced in 2004 about Opportunity achieving a ‘hole-in-one’ landing. When the lander’s petals opened and Opportunity sent home its first look at its surroundings, it provided the first-ever close-by view of sedimentary rocks on Mars, in Eagle’s rim.

Source: Jet Propulsion Lab