Oppy’s New Meteorite Find (in 3-D!)

Article written: 22 Sep , 2010
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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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.

Close up of a rock on Mars, possibly another meteorite. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell, enhanced by Stu Atkinson

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!

Opportunity's panoramic camera's view of a dark rock that may be an iron meteorite. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University, enhanced by Stuart Atkinson

Read more about the rock at JPL’s website.

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3 Responses

  1. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    It is so uncannily like Block Island, so if it isn’t another meteorite I’m going to have head snap injury! That heavily eroded patch of terrain seems to be a great 2D meteorite conveyor belt.

  2. Member
    Aqua says

    Geesh… Opportunity is better at finding meteors than I am! I’ve only got one to my credit!

    The one I found was buried under my driveway out front. I found it while excavating to find a clogged storm drain! As follows: The concrete storm drain stopped working. There was a sunken section of asphalt in the middle of the driveway which I suspected as the location of a break in the drain line. I dug up the asphalt and excavated down 3-4 feet to the original grade. Instead of finding a broken concrete line, I found a large rotted redwood tree stump/remnant. The developers had back-filled the site to build the house and did not remove that stump. Next to the stump I found several Native American stone tools. In that collection I also found a meteorite! Across the street from us is a natural spring. Our house is some 20 feet above the nearby creek. This site was apparently was a good hunting and camping spot at one time? Stone tool caches are fairly common in the area as it seems obvious that it’s easier to stash a bunch of heavy rock tools then it is to haul em around?

    That meteor fragment fascinates me! Imagine how they found it, or why they kept it? It’s from a stony Chondrite type meteor with a darkened fusion crust and aerodynamic tear drop shape to it.. lots of chondrules are visible where a section broke off.

    Assumption: Those guys KNEW their rocks! OR, perhaps they witnessed a fall and found some pieces? WHAT would they have thought about THAT?

    Addendum: Later I found that my neighbor had poured a bunch of left over concrete into the end of our drain when they built a fence between the properties… the Butt Nugget! After digging several exploratory trenches then finally a new drain line, THEN finding the concrete they’d poured, I wanted to sue em, but my lady said “NO… we’ve got to live next to them!” Grrrrrrr….. He’s bi-polar and estupido – so finally I settled on the fact that he’s got his own karma to work out and I want nothing to do with it! At least I got a meteorite out of the deal!~

  3. polarisdotca says

    In case you have the urge (and Photoshop) to make your own eye-popping 3-D images from MER pix or your own, the great people at JPL posted this how-to back when Spirit and Oppy were just starting their Martian odyssey :

    http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/spotlight/3d01.html

    With a bit of practice, you can turn 2 pix into red-blue 3D in 5 minutes…

    Peter

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