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  • This Is Not Arizona
    Posted by Frank Morring, Jr. 9:54 PM on Aug 11, 2011

    Here's a view of the rim of Endeavour Crater -- on Mars, not somewhere in the Western Desert of North America.

    blog post photo

    Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rover still roving after all these years, collected the image on Tuesday, after driving 13 miles from Victoria Crater to get there.

    Endeavour is about 25 times wider than Victoria, and holds ancient deposits of clay spotted by the Mars Reconnaissance Rover.

    Scientists want to get a closer look at that clay, which probably formed when the planet was a lot warmer and wetter.

    First stop for Opportunity will be a point on the rim, to the left of this image, that the rover team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has named Spirit Point in honor of the working rover's defunct twin.

    Spirit's mission was officially terminated in May, after it got stuck more than a year earlier while exploring on the opposite side of Mars.

    Later on Opportunity may try to reach the ridgeline on the rim at the upper right in the image, which is dubbed Solander Point.

    "We're soon going to get the opportunity to sample a rock type the rovers haven't seen yet," says Matt Golombek, a member of the rover science team. "Clay minerals form in wet conditions, so we may learn about a potentially habitable environment that appears to have been very different from those responsible for the rocks comprising the plains."

    Tags: os99, Mars, rover, Opportunity, Endeavour-Crater

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