PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 25 (UPI) -- NASA's Opportunity rover's first pictures of its landing site sent Sunday show a surreal, dark landscape unlike any ever seen before on Mars.
Opportunity, the second of two NASA robot explorers, landed safely on Mars Saturday night, joining its twin to explore the planet's surface.
Opportunity landed at 9:05 p.m. Pacific time, 12:05 a.m. Eastern time, and in the early afternoon Mars local time, according to NASA. The landing site is about halfway around the planet from where its twin rover Spirit landed three weeks ago.
The photos sent Sunday show a dark red landscape and one of its first surprises, an outcropping of what appears to be bedrock, the first ever seen of Mars. The outcropping quickly became a candidate target for the rover to visit and examine up close.
"Opportunity has touched down in a bizarre, alien landscape," said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for the science instruments on Opportunity and its twin, Spirit. "I'm flabbergasted. I'm astonished. I'm blown away."