Emily LakdawallaNov 18, 2009

Opportunity's poking at Marquette Island; Cassini's catching dancing moons

Since tomorrow's class is going to be on playing with raw images from the rovers and Cassini, I've been playing with recent raw images from the rovers and Cassini! I just thought I'd share a couple of the fun items I've been working with.

Opportunity has paused for a few sols to examine a large rock that, for once, is not a meteorite. This one is named "Marquette Island." Among the work they've been doing on Marquette is to take a 13-filter set of Pancam images, which can be merged in various combinations to study how the color of Marquette differs from its surroundings. More scientifically, the rover data can be used to study Marquette's spectral properties, which are related to its composition (or at least the composition of its surface), but the raw images aren't suitable for that kind of spectral analysis. They can be used to make neat pictures though!

Marquette Island in enhanced color
Marquette Island in enhanced color Opportunity paused to study the rock named "Marquette Island" on sol 2063 (12 November 2009).Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / color composite by Emily Lakdawalla

It looks like they are now going to try to brush at the surface to see if the color -- which looks an awful lot like the soil behind it -- changes when the surface coating of dust is brushed off. Here's a fresh-from-Mars Hazcam image of Opportunity's RAT poised on the surface of Marquette Island.

Opportunity's RAT on Marquette Island, sol 2068 (November 17, 2009)
Opportunity's RAT on Marquette Island, sol 2068 (November 17, 2009) Opportunity paused in its trek toward Endeavour crater to place the Rock Abrasion Tool on a rock named "Marquette Island."Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Finally, in the outer solar system, Cassini's been taking movie pictures again. This is a particularly nice set; Enceladus is the moon held still in the viewfinder while Rhea rushes behind it.

Enceladus and Rhea
Enceladus and Rhea Cassini spotted Rhea passing behind Enceladus in this 20-frame animation from 15 November 2009.Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / animation by Emily Lakdawalla

Learn how to find and process these and more images tomorrow!

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