The Opportunity rover has done it again — found another strange-looking rock sitting on Meridiani Planum, and it looks like another meteorite. “The dark color, rounded texture and the way it is perched on the surface all make it look like an iron meteorite,” said Matt Golombek from the MER science team. Unofficially named “Oileán Ruaidh” (pronounced ay-lan ruah), which is the Gaelic name (translated: Red Island) for an island off the coast of northwestern Ireland. The rock is about the size of a toaster: 45 centimeters (18 inches) wide from the angle at which it was first seen. Stu Atkinson has posted some enhanced images of the rock on his website, Road to Endeavour, which I have nabbed and posted here. Thanks Stu! The 3-D version above looks awesome with the red/green glasses. And look for more detailed images of the rock on his site soon, as Opportunity comes in for a closer look. UPDATE: As promised, Stu has provided an enhanced close-up of this rock, below.
Here’s an extreme close-up of Oileán Ruaidh, and it certainly has that “iron meteorite” look about it. It almost looks like the head of a craggy old snapping turtle!
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Read more about the rock at JPL’s website.