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See a Martian crater in 3-D

Get out those 3-D glasses — the ones with red and blue lenses stuffed into the junk drawer — and check out this view of a Martian crater made by NASA's Opportunity rover. The crater, informally named "Santa Maria," is almost the length of a football field (295 feet) in diameter.

The mosaic of images taken by Opportunity's navigation camera on Dec. 16 shows the crater's sharp rim and rocks ejected from the impact that excavated the crater. We're presenting just part of the panorama here. The full 1.2-megabyte view is presented as a cylindrical-perspective projection. South is at the center, north is at both ends. If you look closely at the full-resolution version, you can spot Opportunity's tracks leading back into the distance.

For those who misplaced their 3-D glasses — how could you? — click here for a 2-D version of the image.

The NASA Mars Exploration Rover team plans to use cameras and spectrometers to examine rocks exposed at the crater for the next several weeks. Once the investigations at Santa Maria are complete, Opportunity will resume a long-term trek to Endeavour Crater, which is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. The agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft has detected clay deposits on the Endeavour's rim, which are an indication for the past presence of water.

Before you put those 3-D glasses back in the junk drawer, check the links below for more 3-D view of Mars.


John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the "like" button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following msnbc.com's science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).