NASA has compiled a three-minute-long video of the Mars Rover Opportunity's long, lonely trek across the surface of Mars.
The "life" of Opportunity is nothing short of amazing. It was launched from Earth in July 2003 and landed on Mars in January 2004 for a planned 90-day mission. Today, nearly eight years later, it's still going, currently perched at the edge of the enormous Endeavour crater, where it's conducting a geological analysis following a 13-mile journey from the Victoria crater that took three years to complete.
Three years is a long time to travel 13 miles but Opportunity tops out at about two inches per second and typically travels even slower than that. Fortunately for those of us back home, NASA has compressed those three years on Mars into three minutes on YouTube with an awesome time-lapse video of the journey. At the end of each day's drive, a photo of the horizon was taken; 309 of those photos depict this epic crossing.
Opportunity is a machine, doing no more or less than it was designed and built to do, but I still can't help but feel a little glowing admiration for it. Well done, little guy. Well done indeed.