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Mars Exploration Rover Image Release

heat shield impact area
Heat Shield in Pieces
This image from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the remains of the rover's heat shield, broken into two key pieces, the main piece on the left side and a broken-off flank piece near the middle of the image. The heat shield impact site is identified by the circle of red dust on the right side of the picture. In this view, Opportunity is approximately 20 meters (66 feet) away from the heat shield, which protected it while hurtling through the martian atmosphere. In the far left of the image, a meteorite called "Heat Shield Rock," sits nearby, The Sun is reflecting off the silver-colored underside of the internal thermal blankets of the heat shield. The rover spent 36 sols investigating how the severe heating during entry through the atmosphere affected the heat shield. The most obvious is the fact that the heat shield inverted upon impact.

This is an approximately true-color rendering of the scene acquired around 1:22 p.m. local solar time on Opportunity sol 324 (Dec. 21, 2004) in an image mosaic using panoramic filters at wavelengths of 750, 530, and 430 nanometers. The rover spent 36 sols investigating how the severe heating during entry through the atmosphere affected the heat shield. The most obvious is the fact that the heat shield inverted upon impact. This is the panoramic camera team's best current attempt at generating a true-color view of what this scene would look like if viewed by a human on Mars. It was generated from a mathematical combination of six calibrated, left-eye panoramic camera images acquired around 1:50 p.m. local solar time on Opportunity's sol 322 (Dec. 19, 2004) using filters ranging in wavelengths from 430 to 750 nanometers.

Release Date: 2/28/05
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
Reference URL: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA07402

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