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NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has finally arrived at the giant crater Endeavour, after nearly three years of intrepid driving across the surface of the Red Planet.
The golf cart-sized rover made landfall at its destination yesterday (Aug. 9) when it pulled up to a vista called Spirit Point on the rim of Endeavour crater, NASA officials announced today. Endeavour is a vast scar in Martian surface that is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) across.
The 7-year-old Opportunity has been aiming for Endeavour crater since mid-2008, when it left a smaller crater (called Victoria) after a two-year pit stop. The aging rover is expected to spend years at Endeavour, if it lasts that long, in order to study rocks at the site that have never been seen before.
At Endeavour crater, scientists are hoping to find much older rocks than those examined by Opportunity during its first seven years on the Red Planet. Arvidson said Opportunity will likely not enter Endeavour crater, though it has explored the interiors of big Martian craters in the past. The interior of Endeavour looks to contain rocks made of the same material the rover has seen before. The rim of the crater, however, is another story entirely. The rocks there are older than any Mars terrain studied by Opportunity, and could provide a new glimpse into the planet's history and water story, Arvidson said.
Originally posted by ParanoidAmerican
So I just read and looked through the pics. Image 17 "Chocolate Hill" rock looks like a piece of petrified lumber like a 4x4 or larger.
Previous color cameras on Mars have taken a sequence of exposures through different color filters to be combined on Earth into color views. The Mastcams record color the same way consumer digital cameras do: They have a grid of tiny red, green and blue squares (a "Bayer pattern" filter) fitted over the electronic light detector (the charge-coupled device, or CCD).
I don't understand your question. If you don't want to see the false color image on the right, don't look at it. The original image is on the left, they don't say that one is false color.
Originally posted by lowundertheradar
New Mars shots to study, Yesss!
We spend outrageous amounts of money on these missions though, so you'd think by now we could have a color camera up there and not have to deal with false-color images (the processing of which lowers the resolution). What's up NASA, I mean...whats up?!
I'd be very surprised if it is bio-life. The next photo in the sequence, #18, shows a close-up of the "blueberries". The blueberries look like they could be spherules of molten rock that formed during the impact, which is sort of like one of NASA's two theories on the coating:
If this blue stuff isn't bio-life, I'll be very surprised. Fascinating images and to the op!
Impactor Debris or Common Joint Filling?
The composition Opportunity found for the dark coating material fits at least two hypotheses being evaluated, and possibly others. One is that the material resulted from partial melting of blueberry-containing sandstone from the energy of the impact. Another is that it formed from filling of fractures in this type of rock before the impact occurred.
"It's possible that when you melt this rock, the sandstone melts before the blueberries do, leaving intact blueberries as part of a melt layer," Squyres said. "As an alternative, we know that this type of rock has fractures and that the sandstone can dissolve. Long ago, water flowing through fractures could have dissolved the sandstone and liberated blueberries that fell down into the fracture and packed together. In this hypothesis, the impact that excavated the crater did not play a role in forming this material, but split rocks along fractures so the material is exposed on the exterior like a coating."
So now we see a dense layer of spherules on the surface of rocks right next to a big relatively recent impact. I don't know why this should be a mystery. They even explain the reason they see it on that particular crater, is that it's relatively recent so the martian sandstorms haven't eroded the coating away yet like they have with other craters. I'm not even a professional geologist but I think that article on spherules explains how they form and may give a better explanation than either of NASA's theories.
. Big impacts can form a thin layer of bits of glass that cover most of the earth’s surface. The glass that goes a long way is most likely to have flown in the air as small droplets, known as spherules.