Mars rover – Opportunity – lands on Mars, January 25, 2004
According to NASA, “Opportunity successfully landed on Mars Jan. 25 . It will spend the next three months exploring the region surrounding what is now known as Challenger Memorial Station to determine if Mars was ever watery and suitable to sustain life.”
Landing site for Opportunity rover is named in honor of the final crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger, lost on Jan. 28, 1986.
NASA named the landing site of the Mars Opportunity rover in honor of the Space Shuttle Challenger’s final crew. The area in the vast flatland called Meridiani Planum, where Opportunity landed, is called the Challenger Memorial Station.
The seven-member crew of Space Shuttle Challenger was lost when the orbiter suffered an in-flight breakup during launch Jan. 28, 1986, 18 years ago today.
The newly dedicated Challenger Memorial Station, in a composite image from Mars Global Surveyor’s Mars Orbiter Camera and the third and final picture taken by Opportunity’s DIMES camera ( Descent Image Motion Estimation System) during descent.
Photo Credit: NASA/JPL
Stack of Layers at ‘Payson’ in Meridiani Planum
The stack of fine layers exposed at a ledge called “Payson” on the western edge of “Erebus Crater” in Mars’ Meridiani Planum shows a diverse range of primary and secondary sedimentary textures formed billions of years ago. These structures likely result from an interplay between windblown and water-involved processes. The panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity acquired the exposures for this image on the rover’s 749th Martian day (March 3, 2006). This view is an approximately true-color rendering mathematically generated from separate images taken through all of the left Pancam’s 432-nanometer to 753-nanometer filters.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell