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Focus on "Flatrock"

This panoramic image of the 3.1 millimeter-deep (just over one-tenth of an inch) hole ground by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's rock abrasion tool in the target called "Mojo 2" on "Flatrock" was taken on the 44th martian day, or sol, of the mission. It will help complete the chemical analysis of the lowest layer of the outcrop in the crater where the rover now resides. After a brief brushing on sol 45, the science team plans to place Opportunity's spectrometers on the hole to collect data vital to their understanding of this impressive outcrop.

Scientists believe that the spherule or "blueberry" in the upper right area of the circular impression was sliced in half by the rock abrasion tool. "Blueberries" are a known obstruction to the grinding tool that cause it to terminate its sequence. Despite the stall, the rock abrasion tool abraded "Flatrock" for one hour and five minutes, producing a cavity ripe for investigation.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

Posted by at March 12, 2004 4:52 PM

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