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Meridiani Planum in 1969 – Our First Closeup View of Opportunity’s Landing Site

8 Aug 2020, 14:24 UTC
Meridiani Planum in 1969 – Our First Closeup View of Opportunity’s Landing Site
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

On January 25, 2004, NASA’s MER B (Mars Exploration Rover B) named Opportunity successfully landed at 1.95° S, 354.47° W on Meridiani Planum. After moving out of the small crater it had come down in during its bouncing airbag landing, Opportunity found this region of Mars to be a fairly flat plain covered with hematite and other mineral deposits indicative of a long history of water interacting with the eroding sedimentary strata of the area.
This approximate true-color panorama taken by Opportunity, dubbed “Lion King,” shows Eagle Crater (where the rover landed on January 25, 2004) and the surrounding plains of Meridiani Planum. Click on image to enlarge. (NASA/JPL/Cornell)
Originally designed for a 90-Sol mission exploring the Martian surface, Opportunity instead lasted over 14 years covering a record-setting distance of 45.16 kilometers. The hardy solar-powered rover finally succumb to a dust storm which blocked out the Sun for months in the summer of 2018 as it was exploring the rim of the 22-kilometer Endeavour crater. Because of its flatness and lack of large rocks and other hazards, Meridiani Planum was chosen by ESA and Roscosmos (the European and Russian space agencies, respectively) as the target of the Schiaparelli EDM (Entry, ...

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