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Press Release Images: Opportunity
23-Mar-2004
Standing Body of Water Left Its Mark in Mars Rocks
Full Press Release
 
Looking Back at 'Eagle Crater'
Looking Back at 'Eagle Crater'

This image is the first 360-degree view from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's new position outside "Eagle Crater," the small crater where the rover landed about two months ago. Scientists are busy analyzing Opportunity's new view of the plains of Meridiani Planum. The plentiful ripples are a clear indication that wind is the primary geologic process currently in effect on the plains. The rover's tracks can be seen leading away from Eagle Crater. At the far left are two depressions - each about a meter (about 3.3 feet) across - that feature bright spots in their centers. One possibility is that the bright material is similar in composition to the rocks in Eagle Crater's outcrop and the surrounding darker material is what's referred to as "lag deposit," or erosional remnants, which are much harder and more difficult to wear away. These twin dimples might be revealing pieces of a larger outcrop that lies beneath. The depression closest to Opportunity is whimsically referred to as "Homeplate" and the one behind it as "First Base." The rover's panoramic camera is set to take detailed images of the depressions today, on Opportunity's 58th sol. The backshell and parachute that helped protect the rover and deliver it safely to the surface of Mars are also visible near the horizon, at the left of the image.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Looking Back at 'Eagle Crater' (3-D)
Looking Back at 'Eagle Crater' (3-D)

This is a 3-D version of the first 360-degree view from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's new position outside "Eagle Crater," the small crater where the rover landed about two months ago. Scientists are busy analyzing Opportunity's new view of the plains of Meridiani Planum. The plentiful ripples are a clear indication that wind is the primary geologic process currently in effect on the plains. The rover's tracks can be seen leading away from Eagle Crater. At the far left are two depressions - each about a meter (about 3.3 feet) across - that feature bright spots in their centers. One possibility is that the bright material is similar in composition to the rocks in Eagle Crater's outcrop and the surrounding darker material is what's referred to as "lag deposit," or erosional remnants, which are much harder and more difficult to wear away. These twin dimples might be revealing pieces of a larger outcrop that lies beneath. The depression closest to Opportunity is whimsically referred to as "Homeplate" and the one behind it as "First Base." The rover's panoramic camera is set to take detailed images of the depressions today, on Opportunity's 58th sol. The backshell and parachute that helped protect the rover and deliver it safely to the surface of Mars are also visible near the horizon, at the left of the image. This image was taken by the rover's navigation camera.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Looking Back at 'Eagle Crater' (Left-eye)
Looking Back at 'Eagle Crater' (Left-eye)

This is the left-eye version of the first 360-degree view from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's new position outside "Eagle Crater," the small crater where the rover landed about two months ago. Scientists are busy analyzing Opportunity's new view of the plains of Meridiani Planum. The plentiful ripples are a clear indication that wind is the primary geologic process currently in effect on the plains. The rover's tracks can be seen leading away from Eagle Crater. At the far left are two depressions - each about a meter (about 3.3 feet) across - that feature bright spots in their centers. One possibility is that the bright material is similar in composition to the rocks in Eagle Crater's outcrop and the surrounding darker material is what's referred to as "lag deposit," or erosional remnants, which are much harder and more difficult to wear away. These twin dimples might be revealing pieces of a larger outcrop that lies beneath. The depression closest to Opportunity is whimsically referred to as "Homeplate" and the one behind it as "First Base." The rover's panoramic camera is set to take detailed images of the depressions today, on Opportunity's 58th sol. The backshell and parachute that helped protect the rover and deliver it safely to the surface of Mars are also visible near the horizon, at the left of the image. This image was taken by the rover's navigation camera.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Looking Back at 'Eagle Crater' (Right-eye)
Looking Back at 'Eagle Crater' (Right-eye)

This is the right-eye version of the first 360-degree view from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's new position outside "Eagle Crater," the small crater where the rover landed about two months ago. Scientists are busy analyzing Opportunity's new view of the plains of Meridiani Planum. The plentiful ripples are a clear indication that wind is the primary geologic process currently in effect on the plains. The rover's tracks can be seen leading away from Eagle Crater. At the far left are two depressions - each about a meter (about 3.3 feet) across - that feature bright spots in their centers. One possibility is that the bright material is similar in composition to the rocks in Eagle Crater's outcrop and the surrounding darker material is what's referred to as "lag deposit," or erosional remnants, which are much harder and more difficult to wear away. These twin dimples might be revealing pieces of a larger outcrop that lies beneath. The depression closest to Opportunity is whimsically referred to as "Homeplate" and the one behind it as "First Base." The rover's panoramic camera is set to take detailed images of the depressions today, on Opportunity's 58th sol. The backshell and parachute that helped protect the rover and deliver it safely to the surface of Mars are also visible near the horizon, at the left of the image. This image was taken by the rover's navigation camera.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Image A - 'Upper Dells' Clues to Watery History Image B - 'Upper Dells' Clues to Watery History Image C - 'Upper Dells' Clues to Watery History
"Upper Dells" Clues to Watery History

This magnified view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity of a portion of a martian rock called "Upper Dells" shows fine layers (laminae) that are truncated, discordant and at angles to each other. Interpretive black lines trace cross-lamination that indicates the sediments that formed the rock were laid down in flowing water.

This rock, like another called "Last Chance," preserves evidence for trough cross-lamination, likely produced when flowing water shaped sinuous ripples in underwater sediment and pushed the ripples to migrate in one direction. The direction of the ancient flow would have been toward or away from the viewer. The interpretive blue lines point to boundaries between possible sets of cross-laminae.

Several frames taken with Opportunity's microscopic imager during the rover's 41st sol on Mars (March 5, 2004) are stitched together to make this mosaic view. Eight spherules can be seen embedded in the rock, and one larger pebble sits on the present-day surface of the rock.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS

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Image A - Grain Size Variability in Rock Layers Image B - Grain Size Variability in Rock Layers
Grain Size Variability in Rock Layers

A microscopic image shows variability of grain size within a parallel-stratified portion of the "Slickrock" area in the martian rock outcrop examined by NASA's Opportunity. The dip from left to right is an artifact of the camera pointing angle. The grains in the rock define the fine layers, or laminae, and the variability in grain size along each lamina is small compared to the variability between laminae. Some of the fine layers have mostly smaller grains; others have mostly larger grains. Red arrows and labels indicate the sizes of a representative large grain (0.8 millimeter or 0.03 inch) and a representative small grain (0.3 millimeters or 0.01 inch).

Opportunity took this picture with its microscopic imager during the rover's 42nd sol on Mars (March 6, 2004), the sol before it took a similar picture (PIA05520) at the same location. Most of the grains visible resemble medium-sized sand grains and are well-rounded and well-sorted.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS

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Image A - Crossbedding Evidence for Underwater Origin Image B - Crossbedding Evidence for Underwater Origin
Image C - Crossbedding Evidence for Underwater Origin Image D - Crossbedding Evidence for Underwater Origin
Image E - Crossbedding Evidence for Underwater Origin Image F - Crossbedding Evidence for Underwater Origin
Crossbedding Evidence for Underwater Origin

Interpretations of cross-lamination patterns presented as clues to this martian rock's origin under flowing water are marked on images taken by the panoramic camera and microscopic imager on NASA's Opportunity.

The red arrows point to features suggesting cross-lamination within a rock called "Last Chance" in a panoramic camera image taken at a distance of 4.5 meters (15 feet) during Opportunity's 17th sol (February 10, 2004). The inferred sets of fine layers at angles to each other (cross-laminae) are up to 1.4 centimeters (half an inch) thick. For scale, the distance between two vertical cracks in the rock is about 7 centimeters (2.8 inches). The feature indicated by the middle red arrow suggests a pattern called trough cross-lamination, likely produced when flowing water shaped sinuous ripples in underwater sediment and pushed the ripples to migrate in one direction. The direction of the ancient flow would have been either toward or away from the line of sight from this perspective. The lower and upper red arrows point to cross-lamina sets that are consistent with underwater ripples in the sediment having moved in water that was flowing left to right from this perspective.

The yellow arrows indicate places in the panoramic camera view that correlate with places in the microscope's view of the same rock. The microscopic view is a mosaic of some of the 152 microscopic imager frames of Last Chance that Opportunity took on sols 39 and 40 (March 3 and 4, 2004). This view shows cross-lamination expressed by lines that trend downward from left to right, traced with black lines in the interpretive overlay. These cross-lamination lines are consistent with dipping planes that would have formed surfaces on the down-current side of migrating ripples. Interpretive blue lines indicate boundaries between possible sets of cross-laminae.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS

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Image A - 'Last Chance' Evidence of Ancient Water Flow Image B - 'Last Chance' Evidence of Ancient Water Flow
Image C - 'Last Chance' Evidence of Ancient Water Flow Image D - 'Last Chance' Evidence of Ancient Water Flow
Image E - 'Last Chance' Evidence of Ancient Water Flow Image F - 'Last Chance' Evidence of Ancient Water Flow
"Last Chance" Evidence of Ancient Water Flow

This view of the lower portion of the martian rock called "Last Chance" shows a close-up of texture interpreted as cross-lamination evidence that sediments forming the rock were laid down in flowing water. NASA's Opportunity took the original image during the rover's 38th sol in Mars' Meridiani Planum region (March 2, 2004).

In the central part of the image, the dip of fine layers at angles to each other (cross laminae) suggests that the water that created the cross-lamination was flowing from left to right. Interpretive black lines trace these cross-laminae. Interpretive blue lines indicate boundaries of possible sets of cross-laminae.

A three-dimensional visualization of this portion of the rock offers additional details of the cross-lamination. The visualization and the image from the panoramic camera are compared to show a point of correlation (yellow arrow).

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/ARC

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Image A - Signs of Soft-Sediment Deformation at 'Slickrock' Image B - Signs of Soft-Sediment Deformation at 'Slickrock'
Image C - Signs of Soft-Sediment Deformation at 'Slickrock' Image D - Signs of Soft-Sediment Deformation at 'Slickrock'
Signs of Soft-Sediment Deformation at "Slickrock"

Geological examination of bedding textures indicates three stratigraphic units in an area called "Slickrock" located in the martian rock outcrop that NASA's Opportunity examined for several weeks. Interpretive blue lines indicate boundaries between the units. The upper blue line may coincide with a scour surface. The lower and upper units have features suggestive of ripples or early soft-sediment deformation. The central unit is dominated by fine, parallel stratification, which could have been produced by wind-blown ripples.

Opportunity took the underlying image from a distance of 2.1 meters (6.9 feet) during the rover's 45th sol on Mars (March 10, 2004).

Features labeled with red letters are shown in an enlargement of portions of the image. "A" is a scour surface characterized by truncation of the underlying fine layers, or laminae. "B" is a possible soft-sediment buckling characterized by a "teepee" shaped structure. "C" shows a possible ripple beneath the arrow and a possible ripple cross-lamination to the left of the arrow, along the surface the arrow tip touches. "D" is a scour surface or ripple trough lamination. These features are consistent with sedimentation on a moist surface where wind-driven processes may also have occurred.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

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Twin Dimples Intrigue Scientists
Twin Dimples Intrigue Scientists

This image from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is part of the first set of pictures that was returned to Earth after the rover exited "Eagle Crater." Scientists are busy analyzing Opportunity's new view of the plains of Meridiani Planum. The plentiful ripples are a clear indication that wind is the primary geologic process currently in effect on the plains. On the left of the image are two depressions -- each about a meter (about 3.3 feet) across -- that feature bright spots in their centers. One possibility is that the bright material is similar in composition to the rocks in Eagle Crater's outcrop and the surrounding darker material is what's referred to as "lag deposit," or erosional remnants that are much harder and more difficult to wear away. These twin dimples might be revealing pieces of a larger outcrop that lies beneath. The depression closest to Opportunity is whimsically referred to as "Homeplate" and the one behind it as "First Base." The rover's panoramic camera is set to take detailed images of the depressions today, on Opportunity's 58th sol. The backshell and parachute that helped protect the rover and deliver it safely to the surface of Mars are also visible near the horizon, in the center of the image. This image was taken by the rover's navigation camera.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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