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Opportunity Sees Cobbles Between The Ripples

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) May 21, 2006
As Opportunity continues to traverse from Erebus Crater toward Victoria Crater, NASA's rover is navigating along exposures of bedrock between large, wind-blown ripples.

Along the way, mission scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been studying fields of cobbles that sometimes appear on trough floors between ripples.

The scientists also have been studying banding patterns in large ripples. This image, obtained by Opportunity's panoramic camera on April 27, on the rover's 802nd Martian day, or sol, shows a field of cobbles nestled among wind-driven ripples that are about 20 centimeters (eight inches) high.

The origin of cobble fields like this one is unknown. The cobbles may be a lag of coarser material left behind from one or more soil deposits whose finer particles have blown away.

The cobbles may be eroded fragments of meteoritic material, secondary ejecta of Mars rock thrown here from craters elsewhere on the surface, weathering remnants of locally-derived bedrock, or a mixture of these. Scientists will use the panoramic camera's multiple filters to study the rock types, variability and origins of the cobbles.

The image is a false-color rendering that combines separate components taken through the panoramic camera's 753-nanometer, 535-nanometer and 432-nanometer filters. The false color is used to enhance differences between types of materials in the rocks and soil.

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Spirit Continues To Compile Panoramic Image
Pasadena CA (SPX) May 18, 2006
The latest report on NASA's Spirit rover shows it continuing to make progress on collecting images as part of its McMurdo panorama, as well as conducting detailed studies of soil targets on its wintering slope using the Mössbauer spectrometer.

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