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Three Fresh Exposures Stretched Color
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Three Fresh Exposures, Stretched Color

January 10, 2005
This panoramic camera image from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been processed using a technique known as a decorrelation stretch to exaggerate the colors. The area in the image includes three holes created inside "Endurance Crater" by Opportunity's rock abrasion tool between sols 143 and 148 (June 18 and June 23, 2004). Because color variations are so subtle in the pictured area, stretched images are useful for discriminating color differences that can alert scientists to compositional and textural variations. For example, without the exaggeration, no color difference would be discernable among the tailings left behind after the grinding of these holes, but in this stretched image, the tailings around "London" (top) appear more red than those of the other holes ("Virginia," middle, and "Cobble Hill," bottom). Scientists believe that is because the rock abrasion tool sliced through two "blueberries," or spherules (visible on the upper left and upper right sides of the circle). When the blades break up these spherules, composed of mostly gray hematite, the result is a bright red powder. In this image, you can see the rock layers that made the team want to grind holes in each identified layer. The top layer is yellowish red, the middle is yellowish green and the lower layer is green. Another advantage to viewing this stretched image is the clear detail of the distribution of the rock abrasion tool tailings (heading down-slope) and the differences in rock texture. This image was created using the 753-, 535- and 432-nanometer filters.


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