The dust has finally settled on Mars, and NASA's Mars rover Opportunity took its first steps Tuesday 13 feet into the half-mile-wide Victoria Crater—and then backed out after slipping beyond acceptable levels. With Opportunity's six wheels perched over the lip of the crater, researchers paused the operation in order to analyze data collected in the foray, Wired reports.
The mission has been delayed for months by dust storms that obscured the sun that powers Opportunity's solar batteries. Project managers are still determining whether ground at the most accessible entry-point to the crater, called Duck Bay, is too loose to support Opportunity's descent. The hope is that the crater's rock formations will yield information about Mars' atmosphere from millions of years ago.