Destination: Meridiani

Scaled Image

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU

About this image

Yesterday a modified Delta II rocket successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, sending the Mars Exploration Rover named Opportunity on its way to Mars. This THEMIS image covers part of the landing ellipse in Meridiani Planum, where the rover is expected to land in about seven months. The Meridiani Planum landing site was selected because of the detection by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument on Mars Global Surveyor of a mineral called hematite, which usually forms in the presence of water. While this visible wavelength image cannot 'see' hematite, what it does show is a relatively smooth (safe) area, which, in places, contains a brighter material. Because Opportunity will be able to travel dozens of meters per day, it will be able to sample both bright material and the darker material that takes up the majority of this scene. Understanding what each of these materials are and their relationship to each other will help scientists to get a better understanding of the history of water on this part of Mars.

Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images. 


Image ID: 
V05194001 (View data in Mars Image Explorer)
2003-02-14 19:25
Tue, 2003-07-08
1024 pixels (18 km)
3648 pixels (64 km)
0.017639 km/pixel
0.017767 km/pixel


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