Emily LakdawallaSep 22, 2010

Opportunity rolls up to Oileán Ruaidh

Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is continuing to make tracks toward Endeavour crater, but just because she's got a goal for her road trip doesn't mean she won't stop and smell the flowers from time to time. Er, did I say "flowers?" I meant "meteorites." The rover has just rolled up to the latest large meteorite she's spotted sitting innocently in the midst of the Meridiani Planum dunes. They've named this one Oileán Ruaidh, or "Red Island" or "Island Roy" (named for a spot in the Donegal Islands, as Stuart Atkinson helpfully explains). I am posting this panorama not only because the meteorite itself is cool, but also because I love how Opportunity spiraled in for a close look, leaving tracks on the ground behind the meteorite. There's also what looks like another very big rock in the middle distance -- I wonder if we will go check that out next? -- and the obligatory dark line of Endeavour crater's rim mountains on the right side of the panorama. You really need to click to enlarge the image to see all these details.

Opportunity Navcam panorama, sol 2368 (September 21, 2010)
Opportunity Navcam panorama, sol 2368 (September 21, 2010) Opportunity drove past a new (likely) meteorite named Oileán Ruaidh on sol 2368 (21 September 2010), then circled in for a closer look. Another large erratic is visible in the middle distance, and the distant hills of Endeavour crater's rim lie on the horizon at right.Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / mosaic by Emily Lakdawalla

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