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PIA08813 - This photo of Victoria Crater shows an impact crater located at 5.50°W 2.05°S in Meridiani Planum, on Mars, currently being visited by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. It is roughly 730 metres wide, nearly eight times the size of Endurance, visited by Opportunity from sols 95 to 315. It is named after Victoria, one of the five ships of Ferdinand Magellan and the first ship to circumnavigate the globe. Along the edges of the crater are many outcrops within recessed alcoves and promontories, named for bays and capes that Magellan discovered.
Craters are interesting for scientists as they enable access to the layers beneath the soil and a means to analyze the geological history of Mars. For planetary geologists in this case, Victoria will provide them with even more exposures of the subsurface of Mars than ever before.
Opportunity traveled for 21 months to Victoria before finally reaching its edge on September 26, 2006 (sol 951), at the newly named "Duck Bay". Around the rover were features dubbed "No Name", "Duck Crater", "Emma Dean", "Maid of the Canyon", and "Kitty Clyde's Sister". It also imaged several nearby alcoves, informally named "Cape Verde" and "Cabo Frio", and a small bright crater the size of Beagle crater on the opposite end of Victoria.
Victoria crater may be the last major site that Opportunity will visit. One reason is that the large, deep crater may take up to a year to analyze thoroughly. Secondly, there are few other places of interest in the nearby vicinity and other craters deeper than Victoria are more than 25 km away.