On August 14, 2015, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured this image of Hinners Point, an outcrop at the northern edge of Marathon Valley. The rover has been investigating the valley since July. It became an important site after the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovered clay minerals, called smectites, there. Like all clay minerals, smectites were once formed in the presence of water.
The solar-powered rover has spent every previous winter standing still in one sunny spot, conserving energy. During this, its seventh Martian winter, Opportunity will be able to remain mobile. For several months starting in mid- to late October, the rover will operate on the southern side of Marathon Valley to take advantage of the Sun-facing slope. The shortest-daylight period will come in January 2016.