Gorgeous 3 D Vistas of Martian Crater and Hydrate Minerals at Santa Maria

Santa Maria Crater in 3 D on Sol 2451. Santa Maria is a football-field-size crater – about 90 m wide and 12 m deep – which dominates the scene in this stereo view from NASA’s Opportunity rover. Opportunity sits about 5 meters from the steep western edge of this scientifically interesting impact crater which displays signatures of water bearing minerals at the center of this mosaic. Opportunity arrived here on the 2,451st Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (Dec. 16, 2010). The rover used its navigation camera to take the frames combined into this mosaic. The scene appears three-dimensional when viewed through red-blue glasses with the red lens on the left. It combines images taken with the left eye and right eye of the navigation camera. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell.

Spectacular new images of a gorgeous gaping hole on Mars are streaming back to Earth from NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover. So let’s take a 3 D stroll placing all of us at Santa Maria Crater – “On Mars”. Via the photo mosaics above and below, we will circle in three dimensions about the stunningly beautiful Santa Maria Crater. At the southeast portion of the rim, the crater also possesses a scientific goldmine of hydrated mineral deposits. These minerals are indicative of the past flow of liquid water on Mars, an essential requirement for the formation of life.

Opportunity made landfall at the western edge of Santa Maria on Dec. 15 (Sol 2450) after a long and arduous journey of some 19 km since departing from Victoria Crater over 2 years ago in September 2008. She crawled closer to the rim the next day on Dec. 16 (Sol 2451) unveiling a magnificent vista of jumbled ejecta rocks, steep sloped cliffs and undulating sand dunes across the crater floor. (…) Read the rest of Gorgeous 3 D Vistas of Martian Crater and Hydrate Minerals at Santa Maria (1,502 words)

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(C) Ken Kremer for Universe Today, 2010. | Permalink | One comment | Add to del.icio.us Post

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