This enhanced-color view of ground sloping downward to the right in "Perseverance Valley" shows textures that may be due to abrasion by wind-driven sand. The Pancam on NASA's Mars rover Opportunity's imaged this scene in October 2017.

Wind's Marks in "Perseverance Valley" (Enhanced Color)

This patch of rocky Martian ground on the floor of "Perseverance Valley" on the inner slope of the western rim of Endurance Crater slopes steeply downhill from left to right. Some textures seen here, including striations just above and parallel to the edge of a solar panel at far left, may be due to abrasion by wind-driven sand. Researchers interpret them as possible signs of past winds blowing from right to left, up and out of the crater, which currently hosts sand dunes on its central floor.

The view spans about 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) from left to right and is presented in enhanced color to make differences in surface materials easier to see. The Panoramic Camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity took the component images of this scene during the period Oct. 13 through Oct. 20, 2017, corresponding to sols (Martian days) 4878 through 4884 of the rover's work on Mars.

Opportunity entered the upper end of Perseverance Valley in July 2017 for several months of investigating how it formed. The valley is a system of shallow troughs extending about the length of two football fields down the crater rim's steep inner slope. Endurance Crater is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. Opportunity has been exploring features on its western rim since 2011, after investigating a series of smaller craters beginning with the one it landed in on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time (Jan. 24, PST).

The origin of Perseverance Valley is unknown, but some observed features suggest that water might have played a role in the past. Opportunity is descending the steep valley, making observations along the way that could help illuminate the origin of this feature.

The bedrock target area in this view is called "La Bajada." The image combines exposures taken through three Pancam filters, centered at wavelengths of 753 nanometers (near-infrared), 535 nanometers (green) and 432 nanometers (violet).

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

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