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Press Release Images: Opportunity
26-Mar-2004
 
 
Eagle-eye View of 'Eagle Crater'
Eagle-eye View of 'Eagle Crater'

This image shows the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's view on its 56th sol on Mars, before it left its landing-site crater. To the right, the rover tracks are visible at the original spot where the rover attempted unsuccessfully to exit the crater. After a one-sol delay, Opportunity took another route to the plains of Meridiani Planum. This image was taken by the rover's navigation camera.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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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. This image was taken by the rover's navigation camera.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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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. This image was taken by the rover's navigation camera.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Next Stop: 'Endurance'
Next Stop: 'Endurance'

This previously released image (PIA05229) shows the terrain surrounding the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity at Meridiani Planum, Mars. On sol 57 (March 22, 2004), the rover rolled out of 'Eagle Crater' -- its home since landing over two months ago -- and is now headed for a larger crater nicknamed 'Endurance' seen to the right of the image. The journey, covering about 750 meters (2461 feet), is expected to take weeks if not months. Remnants of the rover's landing are also shown, including its lander; backshell and parachute; first bounce mark; and the site where its heat shield impacted the surface. The image was taken by the camera on the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
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Spring Cleaning (Animation)
Spring Cleaning (Animation)

This animation show the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity brushing bright materials off a circular patch of the rock dubbed "Mazatzal." The freshly exposed rock was investigated by instruments on the rover's arm on sol 80 (March 25, 2004). On sol 81, Opportunity used its rock abrasion tool, also located on its arm, to grind into the cleaned-off rock. This animation consists of images taken by the rover's hazard-avoidance camera on sol 79.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Spring Cleaning
Spring Cleaning

 

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Sampling 'Eagle Crater'
Sampling 'Eagle Crater'

This previously released image (PIA0595) shows an overhead view of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity landing site at Meridiani Planum, nicknamed "Eagle Crater." Scientists have conducted a survey here to determine how the soils in this crater relate to the Meridiani Planum rock outcrop, as well as to the plains outside the crater. Scientists have studied five unique target soil patches on the south and east sides of the crater using the microscopic imager and Moessbauer spectrometer. "Goal 5" is a wind-rippled spot on the upper part of the crater, which the miniature thermal emission spectrometer shows is high in hematite content compared to other soils in the crater. "Neopolitan" lies on a triple boundary of a light soil unit, a dark soil unit and an airbag bounce mark. "Mudpie" was chosen to represent typical soils on the lower part of the crater that are relatively far from the outcrop. "Meringue" is a unique rippled area near the lander that features patches of "whitish" material in between the ripples. "Black Forest" is another upper crater soil unit but is low in hematite content based on data from the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. It also differs in appearance from the lower crater soils based on panoramic and navigation camera images. Arrows point to the area where Opportunity first attempted to exit the crater and the alternate route it ultimately took to reach the plains.

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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Ebony and Ivory
Ebony and Ivory

This image from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's front hazard-avoidance camera focuses on a target called "Goal 5." Goal 5, examined during the "Eagle Crater" soil survey, is a wind-rippled spot on the upper part of the crater , which the miniature thermal emission spectrometer shows is higher in hematite content compared to other soils within the crater. The light soil in the center of the image is referred to as "Lanikai" - an inspiration from the white sand beaches of Hawaii. The dark soil is referred to as "Punaluu" after the black sand Hawaiian beaches.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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'Lanikai' Under the Microscope
'Lanikai' Under the Microscope

This three-centimeter by three-centimeter (1.2-inch by 1.2-inch) microscopic image of the soil survey target informally called "Lanikai" was taken on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's 52nd sol, or day, on Mars. Named after Hawaii's white sand beaches, this target reveals irregularly shaped, light-colored, millimeter-sized (0.04 inch) clasts, or particles, in a fine-grained soil. Lanikai's angular, less-rounded clast shapes interested the science team when compared to other soil targets in the crater area examined by the microscopic imager.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/US GS
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'Punaluu' Under the Microscope
'Punaluu' Under the Microscope

This three-centimeter by three-centimeter (1.2-inch by 1.2-inch) image of the soil target, informally called "Punaluu" after the black sand beaches of Hawaii, was taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's microscopic imager during the rover's "Eagle Crater" soil survey. The largest particles are similar to those seen in the crater outcrop. There are also some smaller, more irregular rounded particles that have likely been transported by wind. The Moessbauer spectrometer's study of this target pushed some of the particles into the surrounding fine-grained sand.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS
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Where Light Meets Dark
Where Light Meets Dark

This panoramic camera image of the soil target whimsically called "Neopolitan" from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's "Eagle Crater" soil survey highlights the border between two different soil types - a lighter, finer-grained unit to the left and a darker, coarser-grained to the right. Scientists are pondering the unusually distinct border between these different soil types. To the lower left and partially hidden by the shadow of the mast is an airbag bounce mark.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
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Where Light Meets Dark (no labels)
Where Light Meets Dark (no labels)

This panoramic camera image of the soil target whimsically called "Neopolitan" from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's "Eagle Crater" soil survey highlights the border between two different soil types - a lighter, finer-grained unit to the left and a darker, coarser-grained to the right. Scientists are pondering the unusually distinct border between these different soil types. To the lower left and partially hidden by the shadow of the mast is an airbag bounce mark.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
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'Cookies and Cream' Under the Microscope
'Cookies and Cream' Under the Microscope

This three-centimeter by three-centimeter (1.2-inch by 1.2-inch) microscopic image from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's "Eagle Crater" soil survey displays a mixture of light and dark soil units at the target called "Cookies and Cream" in the "Neopolitan" area. There are several different types of clasts, or particles, held in surrounding fine-grained sands: rounded spherules, angular, irregular fragments (containing what are presumably vesicles or small cavities) and small, rounded clasts about one millimeter (.04 inch) in size.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS
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'Vanilla' Under the Microscope
'Vanilla' Under the Microscope

Part of the "Eagle Crater" soil survey, this three-centimeter by three-centimeter (1.2-inch by 1.2-inch) microscopic image of the target called "Vanilla" within the "Neopolitan" area was taken on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's 53rd sol, or day, on Mars. The image features small grains one millimeter (0.04 inch) or less in size and somewhat lighter in color than those in other soil units observed in the crater. Before this picture was taken, the rover's Moessbauer spectrometer took measurements of the target and pressed some of the grains into the surrounding finer-grained soil.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS
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No Two Soil Patches Are Alike
No Two Soil Patches Are Alike

This mosaic of microscopic images (each about two centimeters by two centimeters or .8 inches by .8 inches) from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity illustrates the tremendous variety of soil types and shapes observed by the science team during the recent "Eagle Crater" five-target soil survey. Scientists are working to understand the sorting mechanisms that have distributed the various soil types. The survey was conducted from sol 52 to sol 56.

"Punaluu's" largest particles are similar to those seen in the "Eagle Crater" outcrop. There are also some smaller, more irregular rounded particles that have likely been transported by wind. The "Lanikai" target reveals irregularly shaped, light-colored, millimeter-sized (0.04 inch-sized) clasts, or particles, in a fine-grained soil. Lanikai's angular, less-rounded clast shapes interested the science team when compared to other soil targets in the crater area studied by the microscopic imager. The image of "Neopolitan" highlights the border between two different soil types - a lighter, finer-grained unit to the left and a darker, coarser-grained to the right. Scientists are pondering the unusually distinct border between these different soil types. "Cookies and Cream" is a mixture of light and dark soil units in the "Neopolitan" area. There are several different types of clasts, or particles, held in surrounding fine-grained sands: rounded spherules, angular, irregular fragments (containing what are presumably vesicles or small cavities) and smaller, about one millimeter-sized (0.04 inch-sized), rounded clasts. At "Vanilla," the microscopic images have revealed small grains one millimeter (0.04 inch) or less in size and somewhat lighter in color than those in other soil units observed in the crater. "Mudpie" is representative of the soils lower in the crater, a fair distance from the outcrop. It contains spherules and irregularly shaped vesicles held in a dark sand. In the "Black Forest" area at the target referred to as "Brian's Choice" are irregularly shaped clasts, low in hematite content based on miniature thermal emission spectrometer readings. Presumably, the particles in this area are more affected by winds since they are on the outer part of crater and are likely deposited and re-distributed by wind on a fairly frequent basis.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS
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Keepers of the Hematite
Keepers of the Hematite

This figure shows spectra taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's Mössbauer spectrometer at various spots in "Eagle Crater." From top to bottom, the spectra represent soil measurements taken from the center of the crater and out to the rim. The top spectrum taken on sol 56 near the center of the crater shows a basaltic mineral composition and only minor amounts of hematite. Basalts are volcanic minerals and hematite is an iron-bearing mineral often formed in water. Moving closer to the rim, the spectra show increasing amounts of hematite with the "Punaluu" site containing the highest amounts seen to date on Mars. Only minor basaltic components are seen in this sample.

The corresponding microscopic image of Punaluu shows a high density of "blueberries," indicating that these sphere-like grains are responsible for the observed high levels of hematite.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS/University of Mainz
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