NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity Begins Study of Martian Crater

NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity

The initial work of NASA's Mars rover Opportunity at its new location on Mars shows surface compositional differences from anything the robot has studied in its first 7.5 years of exploration.

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 is different from any rock ever seen on Mars," said Steve Squyres, principal investigator for Opportunity at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. "It has a composition similar to some volcanic rocks, but there's much more zinc and bromine than we've typically seen, We are getting confirmation that reaching Endeavour really has given us the equivalent of a second landing site for Opportunity."

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