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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

The original "Puddles on Mars" story has been retracted

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

12-06-2007 18:01 CDT

Topics: Opportunity, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars

Today, New Scientist and researcher Ron Levin retracted the "puddles on Mars" claim in the face of evidence that the "puddles" were on sloping surfaces. I've updated my original blog entry in response to the claim to that effect.

Several readers have pointed out to me a lovely image that also puts the location of the alleged "puddles" into its properly steep context, an image that includes a simulated view of Opportunity tiptoeing onto the slope to examine it up close. Here's Opportunity's original Burns Cliff panorama, in which, as is usual for such panoramas, some parts of the rover's deck are visible at the bottom of the image:

Opportunity panorama: 'Burns Cliff,' sols 287-294

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell

Opportunity panorama: 'Burns Cliff,' sols 287-294
Opportunity scrambled slowly across the steeply sloped wall of Endurance Crater to reach "Burns Cliff," a vertical pile of finely layered rocks that was irresistible to the rover sceintists. From this precarious position it captured a 7-color panorama from sols 287 to 294 (November 13 to 20, 2004). The bulging appearance of the wall is due to Opportunity's very close position to it; in reality the view spans about 180 degrees and the wall is gently concave. For the full-resolution image, visit the Pancam website.

And here's the one that's been tricked out with a model of the rover to scale with a more distant part of the panorama. The image really helps you to see how the walls of the crater drop away from the rover's point of view on sols 287-294 -- and how the rover was tilted as it explored this surface.

Opportunity panorama:

NASA / JPL / Cornell / Dan Maas / Zareh Gorjian / Koji Kuramura / Mike Stetson / Eric De Jong

Opportunity panorama: "Burns Cliff," sols 287-294 (simulated)
In this version of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's "Burns Cliff" panorama, a synthetic view of the rover was dropped in to the image. Opportunity scrambled slowly across the steeply sloped wall of Endurance Crater to reach Burns Cliff, a vertical pile of finely layered rocks that was irresistible to the rover sceintists. From this precarious position it captured a 7-color panorama from sols 287 to 294 (November 13 to 20, 2004). The bulging appearance of the wall is due to Opportunity's very clos

Although beautiful, all of this is old news; for the latest on the Mars Exploration Rovers, you should read A. J. S. Rayl's detailed coverage of their activities.

 
See other posts from June 2007

 

Or read more blog entries about: Opportunity, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars

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