A wide panorama of Mars shows the rim of a vast crater.
This 360-degree panorama shows "Endurance Crater" and the surrounding plains of Meridiani Planum. This is the second large panoramic camera mosaic of Endurance, and was obtained from a high point near the crater's south rim.

New knowledge from the twin rovers uniquely contributed to meeting the four overarching goals of the Mars Exploration Program, while complementing data gathered through other Mars missions.


  1. Search for and characterize a variety of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity. In particular, samples sought included those that have minerals deposited by water-related processes such as precipitation, evaporation, sedimentary cementation, or hydrothermal activity.
  2. Determine the distribution and composition of minerals, rocks, and soils surrounding the landing sites.
  3. Determine what geologic processes have shaped the local terrain and influenced the chemistry. Such processes could include water or wind erosion, sedimentation, hydrothermal mechanisms, volcanism, and cratering.
  4. Perform "ground truth" – calibration and validation – of surface observations made by Mars orbiter instruments. This helped determine the accuracy and effectiveness of various instruments that survey Martian geology from orbit.
  5. Search for iron-containing minerals, identify and quantify relative amounts of specific mineral types that contain water or were formed in water, such as iron-bearing carbonates.
  6. Characterize the mineralogy and textures of rocks and soils and determine the processes that created them.
  7. Search for geological clues to the environmental conditions that existed when liquid water was present. Assess whether those environments were conducive to life.