What we really wanted

Matt Golombek video
Matt Golombek audio

Now what we really wanted at the landing site was a grab bag sweep of the diversity of rock types and it's too soon to tell. It looks like there's a variety of rocks there but we don't have enough of them with the APXS yet, to really tell whether in fact that has really bourne out.

We certainly see indications that there are a variety of different rocks, there are textures and fabrics and things that indicate they might be different, but we don't know yet. We certainly have a variety of different soil materials. We see those; there are different colors and textures, even though the composition appears to be remarkably similar, it looks like we have a much wider diversity of soils than we saw at either of the two Viking sites.

So I'm very gratified that the site is kind of like what we expected, it's again among the rockier places on Mars, about 18 percent of the surface is covered with rocks, which is fairly similar to Viking 2 although the distribution of those rocks probably looks a little different. It's a rocky area, that's what we wanted. There's lots of rocks there, that's what we wanted. They're not dust covered, that's what we wanted. We wanted an area that was trafficable by the rover and we got it. All those fundamental things to really enable us to begin to do the science we got and we're tremendously gratified by that.