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Stretched View Showing Beagle Crater Unlabeled
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Stretched View Showing 'Beagle Crater' (Unlabeled)

July 12, 2006
This imagery from the panoramic camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the outcrop-rimmed "Beagle Crater" appearing on the horizon as Opportunity approaches it. The top version is vertically stretched to make horizon details easier to see. The lower version has normal proportions. The image is a mosaic of frames taken during Opportunity's 855th Martian day, or sol (June 20, 2006).

Beagle Crater is 35 meters (115 feet) in diameter. The Opportunity science and engineering teams hope to have the rover visit it on the way to "Victoria Crater." Beagle Crater was 310 meters (1,107 feet) away from Opportunity when this picture was taken. Even at this distance, blocks of ejecta can be seen around the prominent, raised rim of Beagle crater, suggesting that it may be among the youngest craters visited by Opportunity.

When scientists using orbital data calculated that they should be able to detect Victoria's rim in rover images, they scrutinized frames taken in the direction of the crater by the panoramic camera. To positively characterize the subtle horizon profile of the crater and some of the features leading up to it, researchers created this vertically-stretched image (top). The stretched image makes mild nearby dunes look like more threatening peaks, but that is only a result of the exaggerated vertical dimension. This vertical stretch technique was first applied to Viking Lander 2 panoramas by Philip Stooke, of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, to help locate the lander with respect to orbiter images. Vertically stretching the image allows features to be more readily identified by the Mars Exploration Rover science team.

Though difficult to discern without labels, the southeast rim of Victoria Crater is visible, as well as two small craters on the dark "annulus," or ring, around Victoria Crater.


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