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Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Martian Meteorite

In a perfect example of scientific serendipity, the Mars Opportunity Rover, rapidly approaching its 1st Martian anniversary on January 24, has discovered, according to a story on, what NASA’s Mars Rover Science Team believes is an iron meteorite.

Meteorite is visible above black opening in heat shield

The incredibly lucky discovery, visible in previously released images, was made as the intrepid little Rover continued its exploration of its inverted heat shield on the southern latitude Martian plain called Meridiani Planum or the Middle Flat Plain.

Meteorite is in the lower left corner in this opposite view of the heat shield

The meteorite, which scientists are calling the “Shield Rock” because of its proximity to the Opportunity’s silvery, inverted heat shield, is believed to have been part of a larger meteorite which broke up upon entry into the Martian atmosphere or upon crashing onto the Martian surface.
Shield Rock was discovered on January 10th or on the Rover’s 345th Martian day.

Images: JPL/NASA

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