This picture shows Meridiani Planum, which is where Opportunity landed. The yellow oval, which is 81.5 km (50 miles) long, shows the area that Opportunity landed within.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original artwork by Randy Russell using images courtesy NASA/JPL.
MER Opportunity Landing Site - Meridiani Planum
Exploration Rover (MER) vehicles landed on Mars in January 2004. The second,
named "Opportunity", landed at a place called Meridiani
Planum. Meridiani Planum is a flat plain ("planum" means "plain"); a safe
place to land! Opportunity actually ended up inside a small, shallow crater
that is about 20 meters (66 feet) across.
Scientists think a mineral named gray hematite
might be found at Meridiani Planum. On Earth, gray hematite usually forms in
wet places. Scientists want to know whether some places on Mars
used to be wet. Opportunity
is looking for rocks that may have formed
in wet places. That is why Opportunity landed at Meridiani Planum.
Meridiani Planum is near the equator on Mars. It is also near the Prime Meridian
on Mars; that's where the name "Meridiani" comes from. The Prime Meridian
is the place on a planet where the longitude is equal to zero. The Prime Meridian
on Earth passes through Greenwich, England.
Opportunity is on the opposite side of the Red Planet from its twin rover,
Spirit. Spirit landed at a place called Gusev
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