Orbital eyes picked Mars rover Opportunity's landing site
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A WATER MARK covers part of Meridiani Planum as a layer rich in a mineral called hematite. Spotted by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer on the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter, the hematite - which requires liquid water to form - led NASA to choose Meridiani as a landing site for the Opportunity rover. Colors map percentages of hematite in the surface materials from 5 percent (aqua) to 25 percent (red). Opportunity landed within the black oval and found rocks that had once been drenched in water.
NASA/JPL/Arizona State University imageDownload Original