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  • 1
    ISSN: 1476-4687
    Source: Nature Archives 1869 - 2009
    Topics: Biology , Chemistry and Pharmacology , Medicine , Natural Sciences in General , Physics
    Notes: [Auszug] Comprehensive analyses of remote sensing data during the three-year effort to select the Mars Exploration Rover landing sites at Gusev crater and at Meridiani Planum correctly predicted the atmospheric density profile during entry and descent and the safe and trafficable surfaces explored by the ...
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-06-11
    Description: The purpose of this paper is to report the 'early returns' on the physical properties of soil units and rocks at the MER landing sites. Because we are still very early in the mission at Meridiani Planum, results from the Gusev Crater Landing Site are emphasized here.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Mars Missions; LPI-Contrib-1197
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) landing sites in Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum were selected because they appeared acceptably safe for MER landing and roving and had strong indicators of liquid water. The engineering constraints critical for safe landing were addressed via comprehensive evaluation of surface and atmospheric characteristics from existing and targeted remote sensing data and models that resulted in a number of predictions of the surface characteristics of the sites, which are tested more fully herein than a preliminary assessment. Relating remote sensing signatures to surface characteristics at landing sites allows these sites to be used as ground truth for the orbital data and is essential for selecting and validating landing sites for future missions.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 7; LPI-Contrib-1234-Pt-7
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: We are using data from the Pancam and Microscopic Imager (MI) on the Opportunity rover to characterize the soil grains at Meridiani Planum. We have traced individual grains in all MI images of the soils using the software application ImageJ distributed by NIH, and subsequently derived size and shape properties about the grains. The resolution of the MI is 31 microns per pixel [1] so we limit our measurements to those grains larger than about 0.3 mm in size. In cases where the grain is partially or substantially buried by other grains or finer soil particles, we do not make a measurement. False-color composites from Pancam images that cover the same location imaged by MI are made from the Left 2,5,6 (753, 535, 482 nm) filters or Right 2,7,1 (753, 1009, 430 nm) filters [2] in the Red, Green, and Blue channels, respectively. These color images are then merged with the MI images to illustrate color properties of particular grains. Pancam spectra are also extracted from grains when there is sufficient spatial coverage. in diameter. Figure 2 illustrates the dominance of these small grains at this particular location, which happens to be on the southern wall of Eagle crater. The Pancam color merge with this MI image suggests that the small spherules are more consistent with the basalt grains than the blueberries (spherulitic concretions derived from outcrop rocks [7]). The resolution of Pancam images of this location is on the order of 0.5 mm so the grains are only barely resolved. A Mossbauer measurement taken on an adjacent soil (Sol 53 Vanilla) that is composed solely of these smaller spherules (Fig 1) is consistent with a basaltic composition for the grains. Their concentration at this particular location in a brighter, elongate patch along the southeastern wall compared to elsewhere inside Eagle crater suggests wind activity favored their transport and subsequent deposition here. Their spherical shape is also possibly the result of wind action rounding them during transport, though water action cannot be ruled out.
    Keywords: Geophysics
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 21; LPI-Contrib-1234-Pt-21
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Jezero is a approximately 45 km diameter impact crater located in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. Jezero is an outstanding site to address key questions of ancient Mars climate, habitability, and volcanic history because: (a) It hosted an open-basin lake during the era of valley network formation [1,2], which ceased at approximately the Noachian-Hesperian boundary [3]. (b) It contains two delta deposits [1,4] with Fe/Mg-smectite and Mg-carbonate sediment [4-7] (the only exposure of lacus-trine shoreline carbonates seen so far on Mars). (c) The depositional environment and mineral assemblage of the delta are promising for the concentration and preservation of organic matter [5,8]. (d) The diverse geologic units in Jezero are in clear stratigraphic context [7]. The Jezero paleolake system has been thoroughly investigated at a variety of scales, including work on: the mineralogy of the delta deposits [4-6] and watershed [7], as well as the morphology and sedimentology of the basin [9] and delta deposits [1,4]. The geologic context of Jezero is also well-studied given the broad suite of alteration minerals exposed in the ancient stratigraphies of the Nili Fossae region [e.g., 6,10-13]. Here we present an overview of the units accessible for exploration in the Jezero basin, including questions and hypotheses that can be tested through analysis in situ and of returned samples. This is particularly timely given the upcoming Mars 2020 mission, for which Jezero is one of the final eight landing sites [14]. Primary science objectives for Mars 2020 are to: (1) characterize the geologic history of a site with "evidence of an astrobiologically-relevant ancient environment and geologic diversity"; (2) assess the habitability and "potential evidence of past life" in units with "high biosignature preservation potential"; and (3) cache scientifically compelling samples for potential return to Earth [15].
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: MSFC-E-DAA-TN38540 , Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; 20-24 Mar. 2017; The Woodlands, TX; United States
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The precise location and relative elevation of Spirit during its traverses from the Columbia Memorial station to Bonneville crater were determined with bundle-adjusted retrievals from rover wheel turns, suspension and tilt angles, and overlapping images. Physical properties experiments show a decrease of 0.2% per Mars solar day in solar cell output resulting from deposition of airborne dust, cohesive soil-like deposits in plains and hollows, bright and dark rock coatings, and relatively weak volcanic rocks of basaltic composition. Volcanic, impact, aeolian, and water-related processes produced the encountered landforms and materials.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Science (ISSN 0036-8075); 305; 5685; 821-824
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has traversed a fairly flat, rock-strewn terrain whose surface is shaped primarily by impact events, although some of the landscape has been altered by eolian processes.Impacts ejected basaltic rocks that probably were part of locally formed lava flows from at least 10 meters depth.Some rocks have been textured and/or partially buried by windblown sediments less than 2 millimeters in diameter that concentrate within shallow, partially filled, circular impact depressions referred to as hollows.The terrain traversed during the 90-sol (martian solar day) nominal mission shows no evidence for an ancient lake in Gusev crater.
    Keywords: Geophysics
    Type: Science; 305; 807-810
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Sedimentary rocks examined by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay, Mars, were derived from sources that evolved from an approximately average martian crustal composition to one influenced by alkaline basalts. No evidence of chemical weathering is preserved, indicating arid, possibly cold, paleoclimates and rapid erosion and deposition. The absence of predicted geochemical variations indicates that magnetite and phyllosilicates formed by diagenesis under low-temperature, circumneutral pH, rock-dominated aqueous conditions. Analyses of diagenetic features (including concretions, raised ridges, and fractures) at high spatial resolution indicate that they are composed of iron- and halogen-rich components, magnesium-iron-chlorine-rich components, and hydrated calcium sulfates, respectively. Composition of a cross-cutting dike-like feature is consistent with sedimentary intrusion. The geochemistry of these sedimentary rocks provides further evidence for diverse depositional and diagenetic sedimentary environments during the early history of Mars.
    Keywords: Exobiology
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN21724 , Science (ISSN 0036-8075) (e-ISSN 1095-9203); 343; 6169; 1244734
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The largest exposure of phyllosilicates on Mars occurs on the highland plains around Mawrth Vallis. This exposure extends for about 300 km southward from the edge of the dichotomy boundary, covering an area greater than 200 x 300 kilometers over an elevation range of approximately 2000 meters. At least two different types of hydrated phyllosilicates (Fe/Mg-rich and Al-rich phyllosilicates) have been identified in OMEGA data based on absorption bands near 2.3 and 2.2 micrometers, respectively. These clay-bearing units are associated with layered, indurated light-toned units with complex spatial and stratigraphic relationships, and are unconfomably overlain by a darker, indurated, more heavily cratered unit. Ongoing analysis of OMEGA (approximately 1 kilometer/pixel) and CRISM multi-spectral (MSP, 200 meters/pixel) data reveal hydrated minerals with absorptions at approximately 2.2 or 2.3 micrometers in locations up to 300 kilometers away from the borders of the previously identified extent of clay-bearing units. We seek to: 1) further constrain the mineralogy of the hydrated species identified in [5], and 2) understand spatial and stratigraphic relationships between the different hydrated minerals and the cratered plains units in which they are found. In this work we perform mineralogical and stratigraphic comparisons between units to test whether these extended units may be related, in order to establish a broad zone of alteration.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; 10-14 Mar. 2008; League City, TX; United States
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has been exploring outcrop and regolith in Gale crater since August 6, 2012. During this exploration, the mission has collected 10 samples for mineralogical analysis by X-ray diffraction (XRD), using the CheMin instrument. The CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity uses a CCD detector and a Co-anode tube source to acquire both mineralogy (from the pat-tern of Co diffraction) and chemical information (from energies of fluoresced X-rays). A detailed description of CheMin is provided in [1]. As part of the rover checkout after landing, the first sample selected for analysis was an eolian sand deposit (the Rocknest "sand shadow"). This sample was selected in part to characterize unconsolidated eolian regolith, but primarily to prove performance of the scoop collection system on the rover. The focus of the mission after Rocknest was on the consolidated sediments of Gale crater, so all of the nine subsequent samples were collected by drilling into bedrock com-posed of lithified sedimentary materials, including mudstone and sandstone. No scoop samples have been collected since Rocknest, but at the time this abstract was written the mission stands poised to use the scoop again, to collect active dune sands from the Bagnold dune field. Several abstracts at this conference outline the Bagnold dune campaign and summarize preliminary results from analyses on approach to the Namib dune sampling site. In this abstract we review the mineralogy of Rocknest, contrast that with the mineralogy of local sediments, and anticipate what will be learned by XRD analysis of Bagnold dune sands.
    Keywords: Geophysics
    Type: JSC-CN-35258 , Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; 21-25 Mar. 2016; The Woodlands, TX; United States
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