Debris from Above  << back to mosaics

Debris from Above

         This image from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the remains of the rover's heat shield, broken into two key pieces, the main piece on the left side and a broken-off flank piece near the middle of the image. The heat shield impact site is identified by the circle of red dust on the right side of the picture. In this view, Opportunity is approximately 20 meters (66 feet) away from the heat shield, which protected it while hurtling through the martian atmosphere. In the far left of the image, a meteorite called "Heat Shield Rock," sits nearby. The Sun is reflecting off the silver-colored underside of the internal thermal blankets of the heat shield. The rover spent 36 sols investigating how the severe heating during entry through the atmosphere affected the heat shield. The most obvious is the fact that the heat shield inverted upon impact.

         The scene was acquired around 1:22 p.m. local solar time on Opportunity sol 324 (Dec. 21, 2004) in an image mosaic using panoramic filters at wavelengths of 750, 530, and 430 nanometers. The approximate true color mosaic is the panoramic camera team's best current attempt at generating a true-color view of what this scene would look like if viewed by a human on Mars. The false color version has been stretched to bring out the subtle color differences in the scene.

Jim Bell
Pancam Instrument Lead
December 22, 2008

Full Resolution Images
  Approximate true color
  Image size: 2021 x 1059
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
Image mosaicking: Cornell Pancam team
Calibration and color rendering: CCC and the Pancam team (Jim Bell)
  False color
  Image size: 2021 x 1059
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