Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mars Rover Opportunity working at 'Matijevic Hill'

Date:
September 30, 2012
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
NASA's Mars rover Opportunity, well into its ninth year on Mars, will work for the next several weeks or months at a site with some of the mission's most intriguing geological features. The site, called "Matijevic Hill," overlooks 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) Endeavour Crater. Opportunity has begun investigating the site's concentration of small spherical objects reminiscent of, but different from, the iron-rich spheres nicknamed "blueberries" at the rover's landing site nearly 22 driving miles ago (35 kilometers).

Rock fins up to about 1 foot (30 centimeters) tall dominate this scene from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity, well into its ninth year on Mars, will work for the next several weeks or months at a site with some of the mission's most intriguing geological features.

The site, called "Matijevic Hill," overlooks 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) Endeavour Crater. Opportunity has begun investigating the site's concentration of small spherical objects reminiscent of, but different from, the iron-rich spheres nicknamed "blueberries" at the rover's landing site nearly 22 driving miles ago (35 kilometers).

The small spheres at Matijevic Hill have different composition and internal structure. Opportunity's science team is evaluating a range of possibilities for how they formed. The spheres are up to about an eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) in diameter.

The "blueberries" found earlier are concretions formed by the action of mineral-laden water inside rocks, but that is only one of the ways nature can make small, rounded particles. One working hypothesis, out of several, is that the new-found spherules are also concretions but with a different composition. Others include that they may be accretionary lapilli formed in volcanic ash eruptions, impact spherules formed in impact events, or devitrification spherules resulting from formation of crystals from formerly melted material. There are other possibilities, too.

"Right now we have multiple working hypotheses, and each hypothesis makes certain predictions about things like what the spherules are made of and how they are distributed," said Opportunity's principal investigator, Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. "Our job as we explore Matijevic Hill in the months ahead will be to make the observations that will let us test all the hypotheses carefully, and find the one that best fits the observations."

The team chose to refer to this important site as Matijevic Hill in honor of Jacob Matijevic (1947-2012), who led the engineering team for the twin Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity for several years before and after their landings. He worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., from 1981 until his death last month, most recently as chief engineer for surface operations systems of NASA's third-generation Mars rover, Curiosity. In the 1990s, he led the engineering team for the first Mars rover, Sojourner.

A different Mars rover team, operating Curiosity, has also named a feature for Matijevic: a rock that Curiosity recently investigated about halfway around the planet from Matijevic Hill.

"We wouldn't have gotten to Matijevic Hill, eight-and-a-half years after Opportunity's landing, without Jake Matijevic," Squyres said.

Opportunity's project manager, John Callas, of JPL, said, "If there is one person who represents the heart and soul of all three generations of Mars rovers -- Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity -- it was Jake."

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about Opportunity, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov .

You can follow the project on Twitter and on Facebook at: http://twitter.com/MarsRovers and http://www.facebook.com/mars.rovers .


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. "Mars Rover Opportunity working at 'Matijevic Hill'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120930160414.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2012, September 30). Mars Rover Opportunity working at 'Matijevic Hill'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120930160414.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Mars Rover Opportunity working at 'Matijevic Hill'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120930160414.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins