Sunday, October 4, 2009

Opportunity Finds Another Big Meteorite

Written by Nancy Atkinson

Another Mars meteorite seen by Opportunity.  Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

It's amazing what a rover can find laying by the side of the road. The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has found a rock that apparently is another meteorite. Less than three weeks ago, Opportunity drove away from a larger meteorite called "Block Island" that the rover examined for six weeks. Now, this new meteorite, dubbed "Shelter Island," is another fairly big rock, about 47 centimeters (18.8 inches) long, that fell from the skies. Block Island is about 60 centimeters (2 feet) across and was just 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) away from this latest meteorite find. At first look, the two meteorites look to be of a similar makeup; Opportunity found that Block Island was is made of nickel and iron.

This image was taken during Oppy's 2,022nd Martian day, or sol, (Oct. 1, 2009).

See below for a 3-D version of this image created by Stu Atkinson.

1 comment:

Heart said...

Earth gets quite a few of these "low-energy" impactors, too, that don't leave any craters but they do leave a dense rock lying on the ground. And while I find the possibility that these rocks Opportunity are finding come from Earth to be tantalizing, Occam's Razor leads me to think these guys are more likely coming from the Asteroid Belt.
'm very happy to see Opportunity continue to live up to her name!