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Dig into Montana Before History: 11K Years of Hunter-Gatherers in the Rockies and Plains by D. H. MacDonald, Ph.D. See our online store book collection.

Exploratour - Comparing the Surfaces of Earth and Mars

This image shows the Rover with the rock Yogi.
Image from: JPL/NASA

During it's travels on the Martian surface, Mars Pathfinder's Rover examined many different rocks as well as the Martian soil. These studies and measurements made during previous missions to Mars have helped scientists classify the rocks and learn more about the surface of Mars. We now know that rocks on Mars have many of the same characteristics as those on Earth.

Conglomerates (sedimentary rocks composed of many smaller rocks) occur on both planets. Conglomerates found at the Mars Pathfinder landing site include "Shark", Souffle", and "Half Dome". Basalt, a form of igneous rock, is common on Earth and Mars. "Barnacle Bill", the first rock examined by the Rover, was a dark rock and probably a basalt. Granite, although common on Earth, is less common on Mercury, Venus and Mars. To see the rocks studied during the Mars Pathfinder mission, visit the Mars Pathfinder Image Archive link below.


Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

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Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

All warm objects (not just people) radiate in the infrared. Warmer objects give off more infrared radiation. Very hot objects radiate other types of light in addition to infrared. Click on the picture...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Your eye is a wonderful detector of visible light. Different frequencies of light produce different sensations in the eye which we interpret as colors. Our eyes detect light by using light sensitive components...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Imagine you found a pair of special glasses that not only gave you telescopic vision but gave you the ability to see all forms of radiant energy. The universe in visible light contains all the familiar...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a volcano on the island of Miyake in Japan. It has erupted, sending hot lava and ash into the air, a total of ten times. The time after one eruption until the next occurred was about twenty years...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a picture of a galaxy in visible light. A galaxy is a large number of stars, some like our sun, some bigger, some smaller and all moving together through space. This galaxy is called Centaurus...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a plant in Gary, Indiana where power is made. We use power to run things like television sets, radios, lights, and microwave ovens. The picture looks very strange because it was taken in infrared....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF