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Puzzling Patches of Hematite

These maps, acquired from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity prior to the rover's roll-off, are shown along with data collected at the five locations the rover visited along the Meridiani Planum rock outcrop (dubbed "Alpha," "Bravo," "Charlie," Delta," and "Echo"). The data, collected by the rover's miniature thermal emission spectrometer, has been superimposed on images taken by the navigation camera. The areas investigated are different sizes because of the differing distances from the rover. The bright red region behind the rover has one of the highest hematite concentrations observed in the crater. The areas on the floor of the crater and in the outcrop that the rover has been sampling have much lower hematite concentrations than those found on the surrounding plains. Data from the miniature thermal emission spectrometer show that the floor of the crater is covered with basaltic sand.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/ASU

Posted by at March 12, 2004 5:07 PM

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