Perched on a rippled Martian plain, a dark rock not much bigger than a basketball was the target of interest for NASA's Opportunity during the past two months; Opportunity's rock abrasion tool brushed dust out of the circular area.
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Sample from Deep in Martian Crust: 'Marquette Island'

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity examined a rock called "Marquette Island" from mid-November 2009 until mid-January 2010. Studies of texture and composition suggest that this rock, not much bigger than a basketball, originated deep inside the Martian crust. A crater-digging impact could have excavated the rock and thrown it a long distance, to where Opportunity found it along the rover's long trek across the Meridiani plain toward Endeavour Crater.

This approximately true-color view of Marquette Island comes from combining three exposures that Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam) took through different filters during the rover's 2,117th Martian day, or sol, on Mars (Jan. 6, 2010). On the preceding sol, Opportunity's rock abrasion tool brushed dust out of the circular area where that tool had ground into the rock on sols 2100 and 2103 (Dec. 20 and 23, 2009). The dark circle left by the rock abrasion tool's work is approximately 5 centimeters (2 inches) in diameter.

Image details

ID#:
PIA12434

Date added:
2010-01-21

Target:
Mars

Mission:
Mars Exploration Rover (MER)

Spacecraft:
Opportunity

Instruments:
Panoramic Camera

Rating:



Views:
3,258

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA12434.tif (3.15 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA12434.jpg (0.17 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell