From Mars to Earth
14 Apr 2004
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Press Release Images: Opportunity
April 14, 2004
'Bounce' and Shergotty Share Common Ground
This illustration compares the light signature or spectrum of "Bounce," a rock at Meridiani Planum, to that of a martian meteorite found on Earth called Shergotty. Bounce's spectrum, and thus mineral composition, is unique to the rocks studies so far at Merdiani Planum and Gusev Crater, the landings sites of the Mars Exploration Rovers Opportunity and Spirit. However, the results here indicate that Bounce is not a one-of-a-kind rock, but shares origins with Shergotty. Shergotty landed in India in 1865. Bounce's spectra were taken on sol 67 by Opportunity's Moessbauer spectrometer.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/University of Mainz
Meteorite Linked to Rock at Meridiani
This meteorite, a basalt lava rock nearly indistinguishable from many Earth rocks, provided the first strong proof that meteorites could come from Mars. Originally weighing nearly 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds), it was collected in 1979 in the Elephant Moraine area of Antarctica. The side of the cube at the lower left in this image measures 1 centimeter (0.4 inches).
This picture shows a sawn face of this fine-grained gray rock. (The vertical stripes are saw marks.) The black patches in the rock are melted rock, or glass, formed when a large meteorite hit Mars near the rock. The meteorite impact probably threw this rock, dubbed "EETA79001," off Mars and toward Antarctica on Earth. The black glass contains traces of martian atmosphere gases.
The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has discovered that a rock dubbed "Bounce" at Meridiani Planum has a very similar mineral composition to this meteorite and likely shares common origins. Bounce itself is thought to have originated outside the area surrounding Opportunity's landing site; an impact or collision likely threw the rock away from its primary home.
Image credit: NASA/JSC/JPL/Lunar Planetary Institute
'Bounce' and Martian Meteorite of the Same Mold
These two sets of bar graphs compare the elemental compositions of six martian rocks: "Bounce," located at Meridiani Planum; EETA79001-B, a martian meteorite found in Antarctica in 1979; a rock found at the Mars Pathfinder landing site; Shergotty, a martian meteorite that landed in India in 1865; "Adirondack," located at Gusev Crater; and "Humphrey," also located at Gusev Crater. The graph on the left compares magnesium/iron ratios in the rocks, and the graph on the right compares aluminum/calcium ratios. The results illustrate the diversity of rocks on Mars and indicate that Bounce probably shares origins with the martian meterorite EETA79001-B. The Bounce data was taken on sol 68 by the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Max Planck Institute