More "Fossils" at Endurance Crater

Opportunity Rover arrived at Endurance Crater on Sol 95. After spending 5 weeks scouting around the rim, the rover began its descent into the crater on Sol 133 (June 8, 2004).

Below: stereogram showing a small area inside Endurance Crater photographed by Opportunity's panoramic camera on Sol 136. The red circle surrounds what appears to be a spheroid supported by a long stalk jutting out from the rock. Notice the pronounced fibrous appearance of the flat rock in the foreground. For instructions on how to view stereograms in 3-D, go to the mars_fossils page.

The original un-cropped, full-size images can be downloaded here:
Left: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/136/1P140257226EFF3174P2375L7M1.JPG
Right: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/136/1P140257226EFF3174P2375R1M1.JPG

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Above: close-up stereogram of the object circled in red. Each image has been enlarged 3x. The original images are the same as for the stereogram at the top of this page.

Below: the same object seen from a slightly different vantage point. Note that in both stereograms a distinct shadow of the object can be seen on the ground below it, verifying that the root-like stalk is not an optical illusion. This object bears a striking resemblance to the object protruding from the rear surface of the rock "Pilbara" at Fram Crater.

Original images for this stereogram:
Left: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/136/1P140257226EFF3174P2375R1M1.JPG
Right:  http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/136/1P140257447EFF3174P2375L7M1.JPG

 

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Above: a pair of martian "blueberries" with curved stalks, photographed on Sol 136. A very similar object can be seen in the Fram Crater photos on this site.

The original photos, which were cropped and enlarged 1.5x to make this stereogram, can be found here:
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/136/1P140260960EFF3174P2376L7M1.JPG
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/136/1P140260960EFF3174P2376R1M1.JPG

 

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Above: objects similar to these spheroids with "wind tails" have been found in huge numbers at both Endurance and Fram craters. A cursory examination would suggest that they are simply the result of the hematite-containing spheroids shielding the softer bedrock from wind-blown abrasive particles. The Mars rover team has conspicuously avoided all discussion of these fascinating objects, except for this brief comment released on April 22, 2004 in regard to the rock "Pilbara" at Fram Crater:

Reminiscent of a golf tee, the blueberries sit atop a "stem," thus making them even more of an obstacle through which to grind.

My guess is that most objects like those in the photo above probably reveal little about the internal structure of the rock, having been formed by winds strong enough to obliterate any fine structure. In contrast, the very rare objects like that at the top of this page seem to form only in areas relatively protected from strong winds, and where, over eons of time, the delicate structure hidden in the rock has been revealed.

Here are the original photos used to make the stereogram shown above:
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/136/1P140256294EFF3174P2375L7M1.JPG
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/136/1P140256294EFF3174P2375R1M1.JPG

 

 

Above: this image was cropped from a sub-frame EDR taken on Sol 138. Did the rover team choose this rock for grinding because they were curious about the stem-like appendages on these spheroids?

Original photo:
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/138/1P140443603ESF3182P2549R1M1.JPG

 

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