A beautiful place…

Everywhere you look today – on Twitter, Facebook, all the major science sites – there are pictures taken by the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity. And rightly so – they’re gorgeous, self-portraits of the rover taken by a camera on the end of her robot arm. You can see them on my other blog, “The Gale Gazette”.

Meanwhile, ignored by almost all the science media, and most of the internet’s legion of space geeks, Opportunity has been studying and sending back pictures of an intriguing rocky outcrop that’s unlike anything ever seen before, a ridge of sharp, ancient rock, laced through in places with shiny mineral veins and dotted with countless spherules or “berries”. It’s a quite spectacular geological site, which the science team are obviously intrigued and excited by or they wouldn’t be spending so long here. I think there’s some seriously exciting science to be done, and discoveries to be made, here, and over the next few days we’ll get more and more images. But what we have been sent from Oppy already are pretty special. Here are a couple of new views… click to enlarge, of course…

That second image is easily one of my favourite of the mission so far. When I’d finished messing about with it carefully editing it in my image processing programs, and *that* appeared, I literally sat back in my chair and shook my head in wonder and appreciation. Thank you, again, to the brilliant team behind the MER mission, and to the people on that team who made it possible for people like me to create these views, by releasing the images so quickly and generously, without any form of interference.

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7 Responses to A beautiful place…

  1. ted says:

    stunning job with the pics…really. I love the second one…it almost looks like frozen mud. But with a weird slightly uncomfortable other worldly feel to it.
    Very very nicely done. Thank you for your work and enthusiasm as always.

  2. Qadgop the Mercotan says:

    That pile on the left looks like thoat droppings. Spectacular thoat droppings!!
    I love Mars!

    Another beautiful job, thanks.

  3. Ron Enquist says:

    Curiosity is still being unwrapped while Opportunity is hitting it’s stride (albeit limping a little) still Stu you are correct the little ol rover at Endeavor continues to shine brightly even as the spot light falls on it’s larger impressive sibling…. as always looking forward to your posts R.

  4. starbuck5250 says:

    Gorgeous! The second photo is amazing indeed. But the first one – Oppy really looks like a local, doesn’t she? Covered – infiltrated – by a coating of Martian dust after her long trek. Incredible!

  5. Andyj says:

    What an amazing find! Like big fuzz balls. Maybe the haematite spherules rolled into a crack at one time before being cemented together.

    Am I seeing right. Under the overhangs in the shade, the ground seems darker? Fits in wherever the ground is disturbed. I presume the Sun bleaches as well as gives a burned appearance to certain rocks.

  6. Cathy Easthope says:

    Check out http://www.evolutionaryresearch.org/Gallery%202.htm for pictures of what Martian stromatolites might look like. I’m not saying the structures in this Opportunity image are stromatolites, but the similarity is compelling (especially given that strange knobbly surface).

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