Rock “Appears” in Front of Opportunity Rover


Image of the Rock that Appeared in Front of the Opportunity Rover

Images taken 13 days apart show a bright rock, ‘Pinnacle Island,’ which likely landed here after one of Opportunity’s wheels knocked it into position. The rock is roughly the size of a doughnut. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

This before and after view from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the rock that scientists believe was likely knocked into position from one of Opportunity’s wheels.

This before-and-after pair of images of the same patch of ground in front of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity 13 days apart documents the arrival of a bright rock onto the scene. The rover had completed a short drive just before taking the second image, and one of its wheels likely knocked the rock — dubbed “Pinnacle Island” — to this position. The rock is about the size of a doughnut.

The images are from Opportunity’s panoramic camera (Pancam). The one on the left is from the 3,528th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (December 26, 2013). The one on the right, with the newly arrived rock, is from Sol 3540 (January 8, 2014). Much of the rock is bright-toned, nearly white. A portion is deep red in color. Pinnacle Island may have been flipped upside down when a wheel dislodged it, providing an unusual circumstance for examining the underside of a Martian rock.

The site is on “Murray Ridge,” a section of the rim of Endeavour Crater where Opportunity is working on north-facing slopes during the rover’s sixth Martian winter.

3 Comments on "Rock “Appears” in Front of Opportunity Rover"

  1. Rev. Tom Stuart | January 22, 2014 at 11:36 am | Reply

    Looks like to me that you have the Photos reversed as far as before and after.
    There is a shape in the soil of the rock before it left that spot. Either it was moved by a part or extension of the vehicle of wind possibly. Reexamine the photos. The photos look like they were not taken by the same camera or lens
    aperture/distance as well.

  2. This almost looks like a chemical reaction… there is a depression in the first where the object lays. it almost looks like it was not solid rock, but there was something under the rock there which oozed up from underneath as the rover drove over this.

  3. Madanagopal.V.C | January 23, 2014 at 1:04 am | Reply

    Hello! Tom! The two photos were taken 13 days apart between Sol 3528 and Sol 3540 of Martian days. Don’t you notice the bright tinge on the removed stone by Rover’s wheel? You can see another tiny piece of rock on the left edge of the second photo. The rover was ascending the rim of a crater and hence could have displaced these stones when it cirles around. If it is otherwise as spoken by you the martian dust would have settled on it making it a little red and not this much white. Thank You.

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