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Sampling Eagle Crater
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Sampling 'Eagle Crater'

January 6, 2005
This previously released image (PIA0595) shows an overhead view of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity landing site at Meridiani Planum, nicknamed "Eagle Crater." Scientists have conducted a survey here to determine how the soils in this crater relate to the Meridiani Planum rock outcrop, as well as to the plains outside the crater. Scientists have studied five unique target soil patches on the south and east sides of the crater using the microscopic imager and Moessbauer spectrometer. "Goal 5" is a wind-rippled spot on the upper part of the crater, which the miniature thermal emission spectrometer shows is high in hematite content compared to other soils in the crater. "Neopolitan" lies on a triple boundary of a light soil unit, a dark soil unit and an airbag bounce mark. "Mudpie" was chosen to represent typical soils on the lower part of the crater that are relatively far from the outcrop. "Meringue" is a unique rippled area near the lander that features patches of "whitish" material in between the ripples. "Black Forest" is another upper crater soil unit but is low in hematite content based on data from the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. It also differs in appearance from the lower crater soils based on panoramic and navigation camera images. Arrows point to the area where Opportunity first attempted to exit the crater and the alternate route it ultimately took to reach the plains.

This 3-D visualization was displayed using software developed by NASA's Ames Research Center and images from Opportunity's panoramic camera, taken while the rover was still on the lander.