12 Years on Mars

NASA's Mars rover, Opportunity just celebrated its 12th anniversary on Mars—a mission that was originally meant to last just 90 days. Although recently eclipsed in the news by its bigger brother Curiosity, Opportunity is still going strong and making valuable scientific discoveries. Launched into space in 2003, Opportunity bounced to a hole-in-one landing in a small crater on Mars' Meridiani Planum on January 25, 2004. It has since spent 4,270 Martian days, or sols, on the surface, slowly moving from target to target, exploring craters, meteorites, unusual rock formations, and finding evidence of past water activity. Over the past 144 months, Opportunity has taken more than 200,000 images, and driven a total of 26.50 miles (42.65 kilometers) across Mars—not bad for a mission designed to last only three months.
Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Gary Hershorn / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Chicken Offering, Virginia Creeper, Comet Neowise

    Ominous statues in Thailand, solar boats in the Netherlands, the empty streets of Pamplona, a zoo reopening in Ecuador, a nuclear-power plant in France, and much more

  • Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

    Photos: Deadly Flooding in Japan

    Days of unprecedented rainfall have caused rivers to overflow their banks, sweeping away bridges and roads, thereby cutting off many communities.

  • Antonio Masiello / Getty

    The Colorful Blooms of Castelluccio, Italy

    Vast fields of lentils and poppies blooming in central Italy

  • David Clapp / Getty

    New Mexico: Images of the Land of Enchantment

    A few glimpses of New Mexico’s landscape, and some of the animals and people calling it home