Mars scientists find tempting new rocks

Excited Mars mission scientists on Thursday released spectacular pictures of cliff-like rocks they hope will provide further clues about the extent of water on the red planet. Scientists at the Mars mission headquarters in Pasadena said the pictures were taken by the robot rover Opportunity from the rim of a football-stadium sized crater reached after a six-week trek across martian flatlands.

The crater, dubbed Endurance, is lined by multiple layers of exposed bedrock resembling cliffs that mission scientists said is completely different from anything they have seen since the ground-breaking Mars mission began in January. "It's the most spectacular view we've seen of the martian surface, for the scientific value of it but also the sheer beauty," principal science investigator Steve Squyres told a news conference. "It looks fundamentally different from anything we've seen before. It's big. It's massive. It has a story to tell us." The Endurance crater is about 500 meters from the Eagle crater where Opportunity landed and where scientists announced in March that they had found geologic evidence of a body of salty water once deep enough to splash in. Since then they have been trying to fill in the picture of the environment on Mars before the water evaporated.

News source: Reuters

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