The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been studying Mars since 2006. It has returned more data about the the Red Planet than all the other past and current missions to Mars combined.
And now, according to a recent NASA press release, the MRO's high-resolution camera has taken a dramatic oblique view of Victoria Crater, an impact crater about half-a-mile in diameter located in Meridiani Planum near the equator of Mars. The Mars rover Opportunity has explored this crater for two years.
Officially named after Victoria, Seychelles, the crater is informally named after the Victoria, one of Ferdinand Magellan's five ships that set sail on August 10, 1519, from Seville, Spain -- a journey that would be man's first circumnavigation of the globe.
Some of the distinguishing features of Victoria Crater have been named, such as Cape Verde and Duck Bay.
Though these locations sound like great weekend getaways, don't book your tickets anytime soon: The average surface temperature of Mars is 55 degrees below freezing.
- Sign a petition to add the option for US taxpayers to contribute to NASA on the IRS 1040 tax form
- See what's in the sky tonight
- Download Google Earth 5.0, which has an interactive map of the entire surface of Mars
- Buy a beginner telescope from the Discovery Channel store ($99.00)
- An Old Lake on the Red Planet (June 20, 2009)
- It's the End of the World As We Know It (June 12, 2009)
- Hubble's Last Stand (May 24, 2009)
- Getting Closer to the Beginning of Time (May 16, 2009)
- Strange, New Worlds (May 9, 2009)
- Ol' Lightnin' (May 3, 2009)
- A Possible New World Fit for Life (April 28, 2009)
- Blast From the Past (March 28, 2009)
- Captured on Film: The Personification of Dread (March 13, 2009)
- Martian Soil Appears to Support Life, Scientists "Flabbergasted" (June 28, 2008)