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Press Release Images: Opportunity
26-Aug-2005
 
This image shows a flat though not entirely smooth circular rock surface criss-crossed here and there by raised squiggly lines resembling tiny strips of wet toilet paper. Scattered around these surface features are tiny, round, dark spots as well as fainter, not-so-round smudgier spots. Encircling the drilled surface is a swirl of fine martian dust flung outward as the grinder spun around to abrade the rock.
Mars Rocks Continue to Fascinate

Proving once again that Mars is a complex and fascinating place, NASA's Opportunity rover has entered new terrain and is providing scientists with more discoveries and puzzles to solve. "One of the things we've been wondering," said principal investigator Steve Squyres, "is whether the rounded concretions we call 'blueberries' are the same everywhere. It turns out they're not. The berries are more numerous here, and some seem to be smaller than any we've ever seen."

This microscopic image of a drill hole cut into a martian rock nicknamed "Ice Cream" by the rover's rock abrasion tool shows cross sections of round concretions 1 to 2 millimeters (0.04 to 0.08 inches) wide. Science team members are debating whether the grayish-looking smudges that are not as round are concretions or some other feature. Opportunity is now almost 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) south of "Endurance Crater," where the rover spent from May through December of 2004 reading the story of a watery past recorded in the martian rocks. After exiting "Endurance" on martian day, or sol, 316 (Dec. 13, 2004), Opportunity turned south and continued the trek across land where no human has trod, demonstrating that endurance is more than just a name.

Opportunity took this mosaic of images with its microscopic imager on sol 546 (Aug. 6, 2005). The area shown is approximately 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) wide. The shaded portions on the left side of each quadrangle in the mosaic are silhouettes of the rover's robotic arm.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS
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This image shows a flat, not entirely smooth, circular rock surface covered with dust. The dust almost obliterates the underlying features of the rock that were visible when it was first ground.
Mars Climate Continues to Fascinate

After Opportunity ground a hole in the rock called "Ice Cream" and conducted various scientific experiments, it took this final microscopic image of the hole before driving away. When the image arrived at Earth, scientist discovered that the hole had been filled with dust. Apparently, a blast of wind had picked up some of the tailings produced by the grinding of the rover's rock abrasion tool and swept them back into the hole. In recent months, both rovers have experienced the effects of wind. The Spirit rover on the other side of Mars has tracked the progress of numerous dust devils moving across the plains.

Opportunity took this mosaic of images on martian day, or sol, 549 (Aug. 9, 2005). The area shown is approximately 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) wide. The darker portions in the upper left corner of each quadrangle in the mosaic are shadows cast by the rover's robotic arm.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS
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