U.S. Water News Online
LOS ANGELES -- NASA's Opportunity rover took microscopic
images of a bedrock outcropping on the surface of Mars that
scientists hope will answer questions about whether the rock could
have formed in water.
The images will help scientists understand what the environment
was like when the rock was formed, said Jim Erickson, deputy mission
Opportunity's camera spotted the outcropping, which is about 50
feet long and a foot high, within days of its Jan. 24 landing. It is
the first bedrock outcropping seen on any Mars mission.
The microscopic images and other tests could shed light on whether
water &endash; a key ingredient for life &endash; ever flowed freely
on Mars. NASA planned to use an instrument to determine the rock's
Also, scientists were studying data that the Spirit rover had
gathered by drilling a small hole into the sharply angled rock dubbed
It was the first rock to be drilled by either of the two rovers on
the Mars mission.
Scientists had wanted to move the Spirit rover but couldn't
because of a safety feature that scientists are having trouble
deactivating. They said overriding the feature would be fairly
Opportunity, meanwhile, remained stationary as it examined the
bedrock outcropping. It was expected to move along the rock formation
Return to the
U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.