NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Continues Studies

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity arrived three weeks ago at the rim of a 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) crater named Endeavour. The first rock it examined is flat-topped and about the size of a footstool. It was apparently excavated by an impact that dug a crater the size of a tennis court into the crater’s rim. The rock was informally named “Tisdale 2”. This rock was the first rock the NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity examined in detail on the rim of Endeavour crater. Tisdale 2 is about 12 inches (30 centimeters) tall. NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its front hazard-avoidance camera to take the picture which show the rover’s arm extended toward a light-toned rock, “Tisdale 2,” during the 2,695th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars.

According to Steve Squyres, principal investigator for Opportunity at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. this is different from any rock ever seen on Mars. It has a composition similar to some volcanic rocks, but there’s much more zinc and bromine than they have typically seen. New observations suggest that rock exposures on Endeavour’s rim date from early in Martian history and include clay minerals that form in less-acidic wet conditions, possibly more favorable for life. Discontinuous ridges are all that remains of the ancient crater’s rim. The ridge at the section of the rim where Opportunity arrived is named “Cape York.” A gap between Cape York and the next rim fragment to the south is called “Botany Bay.”