When Opportunity knocks, Mars may answer. Here are some images from the Opportunity rover as it looks for signs of water and other geological clues. The rover landed in a small crater on a large, flat plain called Meridiani Planum. Click here or image for a larger view of the landing area indicated by the orange oval. It is about halfway around the planet from the Spirit rover. The site was chosen because data received from the Mars Global Surveyor showed the area has lots of an iron oxide mineral called gray hemitite. The mineral is commonly formed on Earth in the presence of water.
Click on image for a detail view.
From its new location at the inner edge of the small crater surrounding it, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity was able to look out to the plains where its backshell (left) and parachute (right) landed. Opportunity is currently investigating a rock outcropping with its suite of robotic geologic tools. This approximate true-color image was created by combining data from the panoramic camera's red, green and blue filters.
A view of Meridiani (Click on image for a detail view)
This color image shows the martian landscape at Meridiani Planum, where the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity successfully landed onSaturday, January 24, 2004 at 9:05 p.m. PST. This is one of the first images beamed back to Earth from the rover shortly after it touched down. The image was captured by the rover's panoramic camera.
This spectrum captured by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's mini-thermal emission spectrometer shows the presence of grey hematite in the martian soil at Meridiani Planum, Mars. On Earth, hematite forms in the presence of water, at the bottom of lakes, springs and other bodies of standing water. But it can also arise without water in volcanic regions. Scientists hope to discover the origins of martian hematite with the help of Opportunity's robotic set of geological tools. The yellow line represents the spectrum, or light signature, of the martian soil, while the red line shows the spectrum of pure hematite.
Opportunity finds rock outcrop (Click on image for a detail view)
This high-resolution image captured by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's panoramic camera highlights a portion of the puzzling rock outcropping that scientists eagerly wait to investigate. Presently, Opportunity is on its lander facing northeast; the outcropping lies to the northwest. These layered rocks measure only 10 centimeters (4 inches) tall and are thought to be either volcanic ash deposits or sediments carried by water or wind. Data from the panoramic camera's near-infrared, blue and green filters were combined to create this approximate true color image.
This image captured by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's rear hazard-identification camera shows the now-empty lander that carried the rover 283 million miles to Meridiani Planum, Mars. Engineers received confirmation that Opportunity's six wheels successfully rolled off the lander and onto martian soil at 3:01 a.m. PST, January 31, 2004, on the seventh martian day, or sol, of the mission. The rover is approximately 1 meter (3 feet) in front of the lander, facing north.
All external links open in a new tab.
Close the tab to return to Kid's Cosmos.
Kids' Cosmos… Expanding Minds Beyond the Limits of the Universe
P.O. Box 14077, Spokane, WA 99206-4077
© 2011 Kid's Cosmos