Opportunity Rover Prospecting for Water Altered Minerals at Crater Rim in Marathon Valley
Panoramic view from NASA’s Opportunity rover looking down the floor of Marathon Valley and out to the vast expense of Endeavour Crater. Marathon Valley holds significant deposits of water altered clay minerals. This composite photo mosaic shows the rover’s robotic arm reaching out at left to investigate Martian rocks holding clues to the planets watery past, and robot shadow and wheel tracks visible at right. The mosaic combines a flattened fisheye hazcam image at left with a trio of navcam camera images taken on Sol 4144 (Sept. 20, 2015) and colorized. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo
As NASA’s Opportunity rover approaches the 12th anniversary of landing on Mars, her greatest science discoveries yet are likely within grasp in the coming months since she has successfully entered Marathon Valley from atop a Martian mountain and is now prospecting downhill for outcrops of water altered clay minerals.
The valley is the gateway to alien terrain holding significant caches of the water altered minerals that formed under environmental conditions conducive to support Martian microbial life forms, if they ever existed. But as anyone who’s ever climbed down a steep hill knows, you have to be extra careful not to slip and slide and break something, no matter how beautiful the view is – see the downward looking valley view above. (…)
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© Ken Kremer for Universe Today, 2015. |
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Post tags: clay minerals, CRISM, Curiosity, Endeavour crater, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), JPL, marathon valley, Mars, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), mars red planet, MRO, —> Read More