Outer space is fascinating. Mars, specifically, has long been the subject of debate and fascination ever since our focus turned from our own moon to the red planet. The Fourth of July on Wednesday marked NASA’s 15th anniversary of exploration of the planet. And a rover recently produced a panoramic image of Mars that is just mind-blowing.

mars opportunity

This image released by NASA shows 817 photographs put together to create one large, incredible panoramic view of Mars. The images were taken by the Mars rover Opportunity, which has spent more than 3,000 days exploring the planet and returning information back to earth.

Opportunity has spent the last three years exploring the Endeavour Crater on Mars after spending most of its time in the half-mile-wide Victoria Creator.

Winters on Mars last six months, forcing Opportunity to stay in one spot to conserve power — and from Dec. 21, 2011, to May 8, 2012, Opportunity took the 817 images that makes up this one panoramic shot that is truly breathtaking.

NASA’s next rover to arrive on Mars, Curiosity, is due to arrive Aug. 5. You can follow Opportunity and Curiosity on Twitter — in fact, Curiosity “tweeted” yesterday it was still on time to arrive Aug. 5, only a mere 36 million miles away.


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