New Opportunities

New Opportunities

New Opportunities

This painting depicts future explorers visiting NASA’s Opportunity rover. Arriving in a pressurized rover on an overland expedition, they have come to take samples from the hematite-rich Meridiani region of Mars and to see the old Opportunity rover for themselves. The explorers can be seen looking at the bedrock -similar rocks were explored by the rover back in 2004 in which sulfate-rich rock and evidence of standing water was first found. One of the explorers is taking samples, no doubt to carry out some geology and maybe even to search for evidence of past life.

The painting has an historic story to tell, for the backdrop was the region of the landing site of Opportunity. However, having survived more than ten times longer than its nominal mission duration, the rover has moved on to new territory. The painting beautifully captures the uncertainties of exploration, and how, sometimes, we even surprise ourselves with the frontiers and boundaries we can cross.

Copyright status : Michael Carroll/Earth and Space Foundation

About the Artist


Michael Carroll has been an astronomical artist for over two decades. He has done work for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and his paintings have appeared in several hundred magazines throughout the world, including Time, National Geographic, Aviation Week & Space Technology, Omni, Smithsonian, Asimov’s, Astronomy, Astronomy Now, Ciel et Espace, Newton, and Sky & Telescope.

His paintings have aired on various TV specials, and have embellished record albums and numerous books, including works by Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, David Brin, Terence Dickenson and others. He has exhibited his paintings at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Moscow’s Institute for Space Research (IKI), and the Fleet Science Center.

Carroll is a Fellow of the International Association for the Astronomical Arts, which he helped to found in 1984. He was one of 7 North American space artists invited by the Space Research Institute of the former USSR to attend the Space Future Forum in Moscow in l987, where he consulted with Soviet scientists and artists. While there, he helped to establish the Dialogues project, a series of workshops and exhibitions involving Soviet, American and European artists. One of his digitized paintings was aboard Russia¹s doomed Mars 96 mission, and an original flew aboard MIR.

He has also painted murals, including two 70-foot works for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He has also painted murals in Michigan, California, and for Lockheed/Martin and the Planetary Society. Carroll has also painted at numerous historic fossil quarry sites. He is the recipient of the 2001 and 2002 Reader¹s Choice award for outstanding science fiction cover art.

Carroll is also a science journalist. In addition to writing for science magazines, He and his wife, Caroline, coauthored the Exploring God’s World series, which includes the Gold Medallion finalist Dinosaurs.

All images in the Foundation’s collection are copyright to the artists or the Foundation. Reproduction of these images is not allowed without permission (in some cases permission for reproduction can be obtained directly from the artists who maintain reproduction copyright). These images are low resolution versions of the originals.