Image: Close-up of a meteorite - 'Oilean Ruaidh'

Oct 06, 2010
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University

This is an image of the meteorite that NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity found and examined in September 2010.

Opportunity's cameras first revealed the in images taken on Sol 2363 (Sept. 16, 2010), the 2,363rd Martian day of the rover's mission on Mars. This view was taken with the on Sol 2371 (Sept. 24, 2010).

The science team used two tools on Opportunity's arm -- the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer -- to inspect the rock's texture and composition. Information from the spectrometer confirmed that the rock is a nickel-iron meteorite. The team informally named the rock "Oileán Ruaidh" (pronounced ay-lan ruah), which is the Gaelic name for an island off the coast of northwestern Ireland.

Opportunity departed Oileán Ruaidh and resumed its journey toward the mission's long-term destination, Endeavour Crater, on 2374 (Sept. 28, 2010) with a drive of about 100 meters (328 feet).

This view, presented in approximately true color, combines component images taken through three Pancam filters admitting wavelengths of 601 nanometers, 535 nanometers and 482 nanometers.

Explore further: Harvard astronomer Loeb caught up in the thrill of the search

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