25 Incredible Photographs Of A Mars Rover’s Journey

Posted by , Updated on October 29, 2022

As we push ever closer toward landing a man on Mars, these incredible photographs of the Mars Rover’s journey become even more compelling. Although as of yet there haven’t been any manned missions to the red planet, this is very likely about to change. As we speak, there are four robot “scouts” on Mars, with two (Curiosity and Opportunity) actively examining Mars’ composition and ability to support life. These robots, known as “rovers,” send pictures and data back to Earth in order to give us a better understanding of our galactic neighbor. You are about to catch a glimpse of the Martian landscape as we bring you 25 Incredible Photographs Of A Mars Rover’s Journey.


Sojourner leaving the "Rock Garden"

black and white image of rover in rocks

Taken in July 1999, this shows powerhouse Sojourner, the first rover on Mars, who outlived the original 7-day mission target by an additional 76 days.


Sojourner near the "Dice"

rover with square rocks in background

Wondering how NASA took these amazing Mars photos? The Pathfinder lander (who dropped off Sojourner) stuck around to document everything that happened.


Sojourner leaving an x-ray spectrometer on "Moe"

rover in distance sampling rocks

You can see the bottom panel of Pathfinder in this photo, as Sojourner completes its information gathering in December 1997.


Sojourner snuggling "Yogi"

rover next to large boulder

Sojourner snuggles up to the rock “Yogi” in October 1997 to get a sample – finding that the rock is low in quartz and quite similar to basalt rocks on Earth.


Mars "blueberries" courtesy of Opportunity

close up of round bluish rocks

Thanks to rover Opportunity in April 2004, we got this up-close and personal look at small mineral concentrations NASA has dubbed “blueberries” (for obvious reasons).


Possible water on "Last Chance"

black and white image of porus rock

Taken by Opportunity in March 2004, this is a close up photo of 2 inches of the rock “Last Chance.” You can see more “blueberries” embedded in the rock, and the finding from this sample helped scientists learn that there was once water on Mars.


Opportunity sees it's shadow

black and white image of shadow

In March of 2014, Opportunity took this shadow selfie from it’s rear facing camera showing how far NASA has come from the Sojourn days.


Opportunity checks out it's dust.

image of solar panels covered in red dust

In this picture from December 2011, Opportunity takes a picture of it’s solar panels. Since there are no astronauts on Mars to clean off the panels, Opportunity must stay facing the sun and wait for gust of wind or for the end of winter until it can move freely again.


Opportunity looks back

black and white tire tracks

Opportunity peaks back at the previous tracks while hoping from sand ripple to sand ripple to keep facing the sun during a Martian winter in March 2010.


Victoria Crater - Opportunity's home away from home

large crater from sky

Victoria crater was the first major exploration area of Opportunity in September 2006, and its view from the air is amazing.


Opportunity's Cocoon

dome shaped silver reflector

Entering the atmosphere of Mars is hard work, and in this picture (taken in January 2004), we get a look at what is left of the heat shielding that protected Opportunity during entry. Surprisingly, the shielding bent and turned inside out during landing!


Opportunity goes "Blueberry" Picking

close up of blueberries against brown soil

Opportunity loves some martian “Blueberries” as shown in this close up of the martian soil taken in February 2004.


Spirit Selfie

aireal view of rover

Spirit, Opportunity’s big sister, took this self portrait in August 2005 to show off how amazing she still looks after two years on Mars.


Spirit looks at Home Plate

blue rocks against brown soil

In 2006, Spirit sampled two stones at “Home Plate,” leaving behind these two perfect circles. Wondering why Mars is blue? Blame NASA – it’s a false color image to enhance details.


Spirit explores the volcanic rocks at Lorre Ridge

black rocks against red soil

In January 2006, Spirit discovered these volcanic rocks in Lorre Ridge, given the strange name of “FuYi.”


Spirit spots a "Dust Devil"

black and white photo of dust devil

Similar to dust devils on Earth (think a very dirty small tornado), in Fall 2005, Spirit caught a glimpse of this busy dust devil whipping around the surface.


Curiosity climbs a mountain

rocks surrounded by mountain

In August of 2017, Curiosity rover began to climb the side of Mount Sharp. As you can see, it still has a way to go.


Curiosity surfs the waves

large sand ridges

While sand ripples have been spotted on Earth and Mars before, this 2015 image is one of the first images of these large sand waves (roughly 10 feet across) on Mars.


A peak at Curiosity's undercarriage

close up of wheels

Rarely do you get to see the bottom of a rover, but that’s exactly what this image is. In April 2016, the Mars rover team used one of Curiosity’s cameras to check on it’s wheels for wear and tear.


Curiosity's home from the sky

rainbow colored crater

A rare look at Gale Crater, the home of Curiosity rover from NASA’s Odyssey orbiter. This is a great image for perspective of how small each rover’s exploration area is.


Curiosity uses it's ChemCam

close up of ridges on rock formation

Curiosity shows us details of Mount Sharp from below with its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument. From this angle, you can see the layers, mineral veins, and amazing erosion patterns that mirror cliffs here on Earth.


Secret Morse Code from Curiosity

close up of back of rover with tire tracks in background

To help mark distance traveled, retrace past trips, and generally provide a bit of fun, engineers at NASA designed a repeating pattern on Curiosity’s wheels that spell out JPL (for Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in morse code.


Curiosity finds more evidence of water!

close up of rock formation

Curiosity took this 2014 image of “Whale Rock” that shows unique cross-bedding (layers of rock at angles from each other) features that happen when water passes over loose sediment. This is more exciting evidence of water on Mars.


Another perspective on those ridges

close up of ridges and ripples

Remember those ridges and ripples from earlier? Thanks to HiRISE (part of the Mars Orbiter), we have this amazing photo of those ridges from the air, showcasing how grand their scale really is.


Curiosity shares a selfie

1 rover selfie

What a better way to end a list than with a selfie taken by our most photogenic rover, Curiosity. Fair from the grainy black and whites taken by a partner lander, Curiosity’s selfie is a composite of multiple images taken by the rover to get a full view of the rover.

Wondering where the camera is? NASA explains it best: The selfie at Buckskin does not include the rover’s robotic arm beyond a portion of the upper arm held nearly vertical from the shoulder joint. With the wrist motions and turret rotations used in pointing the camera for the component images, the arm was positioned out of the shot in the frames or portions of frames used in this mosaic.

Want more lists about space? We have you covered! Check out these Bizarre Things In Outer Space, Most Incredible Photos of Our Universe, and learn about these Sneaky Lies You Were Told About Space!

Photo: 1. All Images are in the Public Domain and courtesy of NASA MER: https://mars.nasa.gov/mer/home/, 2. , HIRISE, 3. , Whale Rocks, 4. , 16093, 5. , 21853, 6. , Odyssey-THE, 7. , Inspection of Rover, 8. , Mars Sand Dunes, 9. , Mars MSL Cropped, 10. , Dust Devil, 11. , 06102, 12. , 02686, 13. , Sol650, 14. , 13B, 15. , 07224, 16. , Victoria Crater, 17. , 13147, 18. , 15115, 19. , 17956, 20. , 18885, 21. , 0766, 22. , 0766, 23. , 1120, 24. , 1122, 25. , PIA01568

SEE ALSO: 25 Terrifying Dating App Stories That Are Actually True »


Show Us Your Love
Join Over 2 Million+ List25 Fans