Doesn't look very inviting... NASA presents incredible 360-view of Mars, taken by the agency's Opportunity rover, sample images below, click here to see the super large, high-resolution version (it may take a few seconds to load) (hat tip SBYNews)
We might not be able to get there yet, but as NASA says, 'this is the next best thing'.
From fresh rover tracks to an impact crater blasted billions of years ago, a newly completed view from the panoramic camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the ruddy terrain where the voyaging robot spent the Martian winter.
This scene, recorded from the mast-mounted color camera includes the rover's own solar arrays and deck in the foreground, provides a sense of sitting on top of the rover and taking in the view.
A winter on Mars: NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the ruddy terrain which the voyaging robot spent the Martian winter
A close-up of the left-hand-side of the image: The high-resolution picture is extremely detailed, and can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of the article
FROM THE HILLS TO THE VALLEYS: WHAT THIS IMAGE TELLS US ABOUT MARS
This full-circle scene combines 817 images taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. It shows the terrain that surrounded the rover while it was stationary for four months of work during its most recent Martian winter.
Opportunity's Pancam took the component images between the 2,811th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's Mars surface mission (Dec. 21, 2011) and Sol 2,947 (May 8, 2012).
Opportunity spent those months on a northward sloped outcrop, 'Greeley Haven,' which angled the rover's solar panels toward the sun low in the northern sky during southern hemisphere winter.
The outcrop's informal name is a tribute to Ronald Greeley (1939-2011), who was a member of the mission team and who taught generations of planetary scientists at Arizona State University, Tempe. The site is near the northern tip of the 'Cape York' segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. (continue at Mail Online)
When I was a small child, I read a book in our school library -- can't remember the name of it now -- where two children become stowaways on a rocket ship headed to Mars. It was an incredible story. Using my imagination I could picture myself aboard that ship, sharing the adventures of those children, and eventually landing on Mars. Books bring such joy to us, inspiring us to reach, plan, build, explore.
The United States had their own space program soon thereafter. Things only imagined suddenly became real possibilities. We orbited space, we landed people on the moon, it truly was "Space, the final frontier". Perhaps these images and the story behind them will stir the imagination of children today. In spite of our current President Barack Obama and his clamp down on NASA, we can still have hope of exploring everything that is 'out there'.