It could be the Sahara or Egypt’s Western Desert, but this sand-covered crater is the latest image from Mars.
The picture was taken from US space agency Nasa’s Mars exploration rover, Opportunity, close to where the robotic unit spent the winter analysing soil and air samples. The picture shows the explorer’s deck and solar panels, tracks it had previously made and a crater that was created by an impact billions of years ago.
Opportunity has now spent 3,000 Martian days on Mars (eight and a half Earth years), and Nasa has consistently had a robot there for 15 years. Mars Pathfinder landed on 4 July 1997; Nasa’s Mars Global Surveyor orbiter reached the planet while Pathfinder was still active; and Global Surveyor overlapped the active missions of the Mars Odyssey orbiter and Opportunity. The latter two are both still in service.