Visiting the Scene of Landing

This image from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's front hazard-avoidance camera focuses on the rock dubbed "Bounce," which the rover's airbag-wrapped lander hit upon landing. Though the plains surrounding Opportunity's "Eagle Crater" landing site are relatively free of any hazards that would have hindered landing, the packaged rover managed to bounce down on one of the only rocks in the vicinity. The rock measures approximately 40 centimeters (about 16 inches) across.

Bounce -- a rock that differs significantly from the light rocks in the Eagle Crater outcrop -- is currently being investigated by Opportunity. So far, the rover's miniature thermal emission spectrometer has revealed that it is rich in hematite. In the coming sols, a target yet to be chosen on the rock will be examined by the rover's spectrometers, then ground into by the rock abrasion tool. After the grind, the spectrometers will assess the chemical content of the exposed rock.

Image credit: NASA/JPL