Released 17 October 2003
Although well to the northeast of the hematite-bearing unit in Meridiani Planum (the landing site of the Opportunity rover), this THEMIS visible image offers a stunning landscape, and clues regarding the possible history of water in this area. Most noticeable, of course, is the large dark unit in the center of the image. This unit clearly embays the underlying terrain, implying that it was somehow subsequently deposited on top of it. This same unit can be seen in a crater just south of the main body. It is hard to tell if water definitely laid down this unit, but an aqueous mechanism could certainly be implied, especially since the large body of hematite, which most likely formed in the presence of water, is present close by.
Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude 1.5, Longitude 5.6 East (354.4 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.
Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.