Flank heat shield pieces
The Opportunity rover acquired this mosaic of heat shield pieces on Sol 331 (Dec. 29, 2004). About ten months into the mission, Opportunity spotted the shiny entry hardware against the muted brown of the plains. It was decided to drive to the wreckage and investigate with the Pancam. The images provide valuable documentation of how the heat shield reacted to entry through the Martian atmosphere. Rarely has a spacecraft had the good fortune of finding pieces of the entry vehicle, so this was a very interesting time for the mission.
This mosaic was created from Pancam's 753-nm, 535-nm, and 432-nm filters. Two versions are offered here at full resolution: an approximately true color rendering, and a false color stretch to bring out subtle color differences in the scene.
Pancam Instrument Lead
April 8, 2008