Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Rim of Endeavour Crater, Sol 2424, False Color

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its panoramic camera to record this eastward view of the horizon on the 2,424th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (November 18, 2010). The view is presented in false color to make differences in surface materials more visible.

Portions of the rim of Endeavour Crater, several kilometers or miles in the distance, are visible at the left, middle and far-right of the image, rising above the Meridiani plain. Endeavour Crater is about 22 kilometers (14 miles) in diameter. The portion of the rim visible on the left in this image is at the northern edge of Endeavour. The portion in the middle of the image is on the crater's eastern edge of the crater. The portion at the far right is on the Endeavour's western rim, closer to Opportunity. An orbital view at PIA11837 offers context.

The rover team chose Endeavour Crater as a long-term destination for Opportunity in mid-2008, after the rover had investigated the much-smaller Victoria Crater for two years. More than a year later, the goal became even more alluring when observations with the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars, on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, found clay minerals exposed on Endeavour's western rim. James Wray of Cornell University, and co-authors, reported observations of those minerals in Geophysical Research Letters in 2009. Clay minerals, which form under wet and relatively neutral pH conditions, have been found extensively on Mars from orbit but have not been examined on the surface. Additional observations with that spectrometer are helping the rover team choose which part of Endeavour's rim to visit first with Opportunity.

This view combines exposures taken through three filters of the panoramic camera (Pancam) admitting wavelengths of 752 nanometers, 535 nanometers and 432 nanometers.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University

Note: NASA released a number of different photos on Endeavour Crater's rim; they include: PIA13666: East Rim of Endeavour Crater in Opportunity's View, Sol 2407 (False Color), PIA13667: East Rim of Endeavour Crater in Opportunity's View, Sol 2407, PIA13669: Rim of Endeavour on Opportunity's Horizon, Sol 2424 and PIA13709: Super-Resolution View of Cape Tribulation, Sol 2298.

No comments: