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Press Release Images: Opportunity
18-Mar-2004
Mineral in Mars 'Berries' Adds to Water Story
Full Press Release
 
Merry-Go-Round
Merry-Go-Round

Dubbed "Carousel," the rock in this image was the target of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity science team's outcrop "scuff test." The image on the left, taken by the rover's navigation camera on sol 48 of the mission (March 12, 2004), shows the rock pre-scuff. On sol 51 (March 15, 2004), Opportunity slowly rotated its left front wheel on the rock, abrading it in the same way that geology students use a scratch test to determine the hardness of minerals. The image on the right, taken by the rover's navigation camera on sol 51, shows the rock post-scuff. In this image, it is apparent that Opportunity scratched the surface of "Carousel" and deposited dirt that it was carrying in its wheel rims.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Washington University (St. Louis)
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Eagle Crater Traverse Area
Eagle Crater Traverse Area

This image shows an overhead view of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity landing site at Meridiani Planum, nicknamed “Eagle Crater.” Scientists are conducting a soil survey here to see how the soils in this crater relate to the soils near the Meridiani Planum rock outcrop, as well as on the plains outside the crater. Scientists have studied the soils in great detail on the north and west sides of the crater, and plan to study five more locations before Opportunity exits the crater. As of sol 54 of Opportunity's journey (March 18, 2004), the rover is stationed at the sol 53 stop, located in the bottom right quadrant of this image. Scientists are examining light and dark soil targets at this spot, dubbed “Neopolitan” because it is a triple boundary between light soil, dark soil, and an airbag bounce mark.

This 3-D visualization was displayed using software developed by NASA’s Ames Research Center and images from Opportunity’s panoramic camera, taken while the rover was still on the lander.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Ames/Cornell/ Washington University (St. Louis)
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Eagle Crater Traverse Map
Eagle Crater Traverse Map

This labeled image shows an overhead view of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity landing site at Meridiani Planum, nicknamed “Eagle Crater.” Scientists are conducting a soil survey here to see how the soils in this crater relate to the soils by the Meridiani Planum rock outcrop, as well as on the plains outside the crater. They have studied the soils in great detail on the north and west sides of the crater. Locations within the crater where scientists have taken microscopic images of the soil are shown in blue.

The science team has selected five locations for Opportunity to stop and study the soil before exiting the crater. As of sol 54 of Opportunity’s journey (March 18, 2004), Opportunity has completed the sol 52 stop and is stationed at the sol 53 stop, located in the bottom right quadrant of this image. Scientists are examining light and dark soil targets at this spot, dubbed “Neopolitan” because it is a triple boundary between light soil, dark soil, and an airbag bounce mark.

This 3-D visualization was displayed using software developed by NASA’s Ames Research Center and images from Opportunity’s panoramic camera, taken while the rover was still on the lander.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Ames/Cornell/ Washington University (St. Louis)
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Savoring Neopolitan
Savoring Neopolitan

This image from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's front hazard-avoidance camera shows the rover at its Sol 53 (March 17, 2004) location within the "Eagle Crater" landing site. Dubbed “Neopolitan,” this location has three different soil patches: a very light unit, a dark unit, and an airbag bounce mark. Scientists are imaging each of these units as part of a crater soil survey. They hope to better understand the origin of the soils they see in the crater and the relationship of the soils to the rocks in Opportunity ledge. This image was taken on sol 52 of Opportunity’s journey (March 16, 2004).

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Washington University (St. Louis)
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The Ice Cream Trio
The Ice Cream Trio

This image from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's front hazard-avoidance camera shows the rover at its sol 53 (March 17, 2004) location within the "Eagle Crater" landing site. Dubbed “Neopolitan,” this location has three different soil patches: a very light unit, a dark unit, and an airbag bounce mark. Scientists are imaging each of these units as part of a crater soil survey. They hope to better understand the origin of the soils they see in the crater and the relationship of the soils to the rocks in Opportunity ledge. The light soil unit, seen on the left, is a microscopic imager target dubbed “Vanilla.” The dark soil unit on the right is a target dubbed “Cookies ‘n’ Cream.” This image was taken on sol 52 of Opportunity’s journey (March 16, 2004).

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Washington University (St. Louis)
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'Berries' and Rock Share Common Origins
'Berries' and Rock Share Common Origins

This false-color composite image, taken at a region of the rock outcrop dubbed "Shoemaker's Patio" near the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site, shows finely layered sediments, which have been accentuated by erosion. The sphere-like grains or "blueberries" distributed throughout the outcrop can be seen lining up with individual layers. This observation indicates that the spherules are geologic features called concretions, which form in pre-existing wet sediments. Other sphere-like grains, such as impact spherules or volcanic lapilli (fragments of material between 2 and 64 millimeters or .08 and 2.5 inches in maximum dimension that are ejected from a volcano) are thought to be deposited with sediments and thus would form layers distinct from those of the rocks. This image was captured by the rover's panoramic camera on the 50th martian day, or sol, of the mission. Data from the camera's infrared, green and violet filters were used to create this false-color picture.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
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'Blueberry' Layers Indicate Watery Origins
'Blueberry' Layers Indicate Watery Origins

This microscopic image, taken at the outcrop region dubbed "El Capitan" near the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site, reveals millimeter-scale (.04 inch-scale) layers in the lower portion. This same layering is hinted at by the fine notches that run horizontally across the sphere-like grain or "blueberry" in the center left. The thin layers do not appear to deform around the blueberry, indicating that these geologic features are concretions and not impact spherules or ejected volcanic material called lapilli. Concretions are balls of minerals that form in pre-existing wet sediments. This image was taken by the rover's microscopic imager on the 29th martian day, or sol, of its mission. The observed area is about 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) across.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS
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'Blueberry' Triplets Born in Rock
'Blueberry' Triplets Born in Rock

This microscopic image, taken at the outcrop region dubbed "Berry Bowl" near the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site, shows the sphere-like grains or "blueberries" that fill Berry Bowl. Of particular interest is the blueberry triplet, which indicates that these geologic features grew in pre-existing wet sediments. Other sphere-like grains that form in the air, such as impact spherules or ejected volcanic material called lapilli, are unlikely to fuse along a line and form triplets. This image was taken by the rover's microscopic imager on the 46th martian day, or sol, of its mission.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS
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A Bowl of Hematite-Rich 'Berries'
A Bowl of Hematite-Rich 'Berries'

This graph shows two spectra of outcrop regions near the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site. The blue line shows data for a region dubbed "Berry Bowl," which contains a handful of the sphere-like grains dubbed "blueberries." The yellow line represents an area called "Empty" next to Berry Bowl that is devoid of berries. Berry Bowl's spectrum still shows typical outcrop characteristics, but also exhibits an intense hematite signature, seen as a "magnetic sextet." Hematite is an iron-bearing mineral often formed in water. These spectra were taken by the rover's Moessbauer spectrometer on the 46th (Empty) and 48th (Berry Bowl) martian days, or sols, of its mission.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/University of Mainz
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'Berries' Up, Down, All Around
'Berries' Up, Down, All Around

This approximate true-color image taken by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows a region at the end of the rock outcrop lining the small crater, called "Eagle Crater," where the rover now sits. The sphere-like grains or "blueberries" dotting the rocks in the outcrop can also be seen above the rocks, suggesting that these geologic features have origins beyond Eagle Crater. Data from the panoramic camera's blue, green and red filters were combined to make this image.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
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'Berries' Here, There, Everywhere
'Berries' Here, There, Everywhere

This approximate true-color image suggests that the plains beyond the small crater where the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity now sits are littered with the same dark grey material found inside the crater in the form of spherules or "blueberries." Because Mars orbiters have observed the iron-bearing mineral hematite across these plains, scientists hypothesize that the blueberries are also made up of this mineral. This image was taken by the rover's panoramic camera on the 17th martian day, or sol, of its mission. Data from the camera's red, green and blue filters were combined to create this image.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
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