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First Images Of Opportunity Site Show Bizarre Landscape

Date:
January 26, 2004
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
NASA's Opportunity rover returned the first pictures of its landing site, revealing a surreal, dark landscape unlike any ever seen before on Mars.

This color image shows the martian landscape at Meridiani Planum, where the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity successfully landed at 9:05 p.m. PST on Saturday. This is one of the first images beamed back to Earth from the rover shortly after it touched down. The image was captured by the rover's panoramic camera. (NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

January 25, 2004 -- NASA's Opportunity rover returned the first pictures of its landing site early today, revealing a surreal, dark landscape unlike any ever seen before on Mars.

Opportunity relayed the images and other data via NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter. The data showed that the spacecraft is healthy, said Matt Wallace, mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"Opportunity has touched down in a bizarre, alien landscape," said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for the science instruments on Opportunity and its twin, Spirit. "I'm flabbergasted. I'm astonished. I'm blown away."

The terrain is darker than at any previous Mars landing site and has the first accessible bedrock outcropping ever seen on Mars. The outcropping immediately became a candidate target for the rover to visit and examine up close.

Wallace noted that the straight-ahead path looks clear for the rover to roll off its lander platform. The rover is facing north-northeast.

JPL Administrator Dr. Charles Elachi said, "This team succeeded the old fashioned way. They were excellent, they were determined, and they worked very hard."

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Additional information about the project is available from JPL at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov and from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., at http://athena.cornell.edu .


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "First Images Of Opportunity Site Show Bizarre Landscape." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040126072618.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2004, January 26). First Images Of Opportunity Site Show Bizarre Landscape. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040126072618.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "First Images Of Opportunity Site Show Bizarre Landscape." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040126072618.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

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