Just a pile of rocks…

…is how someone described the following picture to me when I showed it to them. “So…? It’s just a pile of rocks…”


And I suppose, to be fair, that is just what it looks like, right? Just a big old pile of rocks.

Except these aren’t just any rocks. These are Mars rocks. These rocks are high on the edge of an ancient crater on the Red Planet, and are being photographed and studied by an incredible machine, a robot rover called “Opportunity”, which landed on that world 11 long years ago.

Let’s add some colour and take a closer look at those “just” rocks…

sosl debrius pile 2b

Now you get a hint of the history behind this pile of “just” rocks. They all used to be one big rock, I think, a boulder that, probably many thousands of years ago, smashed into the ground here, and shattered into thousands of smaller shards, rocks and stones after being flung through the air by a shuddering impact most likely many, many miles away…

If you zoom out from this rock pile and look at the surrounding landscape you can see just what a beautiful spot this is…


I know… that’s something special, isn’t it?

It looks like Opportunity is now on her final approach to the entrance of Marathon Valley… Expect some very dramatic pictures as soon as she turns and heads towards the Valley itself. We’re going to see some mouth-wateringly beautiful geology then…! 🙂

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