Opportunity Lands on Mars – in “Muddy” Hematite?

 "I will attempt no science analysis, because it looks like nothing I've ever seen before. I've got no words for this. I am flabbergasted. I am astonished. I am blown away. Opportunity has touched down in a bizarre alien landscape."

- Steven Squyres, Principal Investigator, Cornell University

Above and below: Opportunity's panorama camera shows rocky "butte" surrounded by dark "sea of soil" that is thought to be grey hematite, a very different mineral from the iron, olivine and nickel soil that Spirit landed on in the Gusev crater. Image: NASA/JPL.
Above and below: Opportunity's panorama camera shows rocky "butte" surrounded by dark "sea of soil" that is thought to be grey hematite, a very different mineral from the iron, olivine and nickel soil that Spirit landed on in the Gusev crater. Image: NASA/JPL.


January 25, 2004  Pasadena, California - Opportunity, NASA's second rover, landed on Mars five minutes after 9 p.m. in California and after midnight on the East Coast as expected. Opportunity bounced down in its airbag-covered lander on to a smooth plane called Meridiani Planum near the equator half way around Mars from the Gusev crater where the first damaged rover, Spirit, landed on January 3, 2004. Opportunity's mission is to search for signs of water and its landing marks and the soil look even muddier than the Gusev crater's.

 

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