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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-06-11
    Description: The second MER rover (Opportunity) landed on Meridiani Planum on January 24, 2004 inside a shallow crater. The science rational for the selection of the landing site centered on detection of the mineral hematite from martian orbit by the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS-TES) [1,2]. Other smaller occurrences of hematite are in Aram Chaos and several isolated spots in Valles Marineris. Proposed formation pathways for martian hematite include both aqueous (e.g., low temperature precipitation of Fe oxides/oxyhydroxides in a lacustrine environment, laterite-style weathering, and precipitation from fluids having a hydrothermal origin) and dry (e.g., oxidation of magnetite rich ash) processes [e.g., 1,2,3]. The crystallographic c-face of martian hematite must be exaggerated to account for the thermal emissions spectra and it must be gray in color so as to account for the absence of the characteristic spectral signature of red hematite at visible wavelengths
    Keywords: Geophysics
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Special Session: Mars Missions; LPI-Contrib-1197
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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: 2018-06-11
    Description: The Spirit landing site in Gusev Crater on Mars contains dark, fine-grained, vesicular rocks interpreted as lavas. Pancam and Mini-Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) spectra suggest that all of these rocks are similar but have variable coatings and dust mantles. Magnified images of brushed and abraded rock surfaces show alteration rinds and veins. Rock interiors contain 〈/=25% megacrysts. Chemical analyses of rocks by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer are consistent with picritic basalts, containing normative olivine, pyroxenes, plagioclase, and accessory FeTi oxides. Mossbauer, Pancam, and Mini-TES spectra confirm the presence of olivine, magnetite, and probably pyroxene. These basalts extend the known range of rock compositions composing the martian crust.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Science (ISSN 0036-8075); Volume 305; 5685; 842-845
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-06-08
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: IAA, International Conference on Low-Cost Planetary Missions; Laurel, MD; United States
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: Montgolfiere balloons can provide a unique near-surface platform for an extended traverse over the polar regions of Mars. During the polar summer, such solar powered balloons would remain in the constant sun of the polar summer and could remain airborne for many weeks or even months as the atmospheric circulation would drive the balloons around the polar region many times before the balloon would cross the terminator. Such a platform for scientific measurements could provide in situ sampling of the atmosphere for trace disequilibrium species that might be indicators of present geological or biological activity in this region. It could furthermore provide high resolution imaging, deep electromagnetic (EM) sounding for subsurface stratigraphy and liquid water, and high spatial resolution neutron measurements of subsurface ice. Technologies for robust balloon deployment on entry and controlled encounters with the surface and near subsurface for sample acquisition in otherwise inaccessible regions are presently being studied and developed with support from NASA.
    Keywords: Exobiology
    Type: Third International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration; LPI-Contrib-1184
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2004-12-03
    Description: In response to the question 'what to do next' at Mars we explore the value of a high precision in situ measurement of isotopic and trace gas constituents in the atmosphere combined with a similar analysis of gas extracted from near surface rocks and soils. The scientific goals are to advance our understanding of the evolution of the Martian atmosphere and to search for fossils of past geochemical conditions. One element of this program that ties directly to the goals of the Astrobiology Program will be a sensitive search for simple or complex organic molecules contained in the atmosphere and in the solid phase. The broad chemical and isotopic analysis planned insures that a highly successful program will be carried out even if no organics are detected. We will demonstrate that the technology to carry out this Program is presently in hand.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration; Part 2; 204-205; LPI-Contrib-1062-Pt-2
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2004-12-03
    Description: The Athena Precursor Experiment (APEX) is a suite of scientific instruments for the Mars Surveyor Program 2001 (MSP'01) lander. The major elements of the APEX pay load are: (1) Pancam/Mini-TES, a combined stereo color imager and mid-infrared point spectrometer. (2) An Alpha-Proton-X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) for in-situ elemental analysis. (3) A Mossbauer Spectrometer for in-situ determination of the mineralogy of Fe-bearing rocks and soils. (4) A Magnet Array that can separate magnetic soil particles from non-magnetic ones.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Workshop on Mars 2001: Integrated Science in Preparation for Sample Return and Human Exploration; 98-100; LPI-Contrib-991
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2004-12-03
    Description: The Mars Surveyor missions that will be launched in April of 2001 will include a highly capable rover that is a successor to the Mars Pathfinder mission's Sojourner rover. The design goals for this rover are a total traverse distance of at least 10 km and a total lifetime of at least one Earth year. The rover's job will be to explore a site in Mars' ancient terrain, searching for materials likely to preserve a record of ancient martian water, climate, and possibly biology. The rover will collect rock and soil samples, and will store them for return to Earth by a subsequent Mars Surveyor mission in 2005. The Athena Mars rover science payload is the suite of scientific instruments and sample collection tools that will be used to perform this job. The specific science objectives that NASA has identified for the '01 rover payload are to: (1) Provide color stereo imaging of martian surface environments, and remotely-sensed point discrimination of mineralogical composition. (2) Determine the elemental and mineralogical composition of martian surface materials. (3) Determine the fine-scale textural properties of these materials. (4) Collect and store samples. The Athena payload has been designed to meet these objectives. The focus of the design is on field operations: making sure the rover can locate, characterize, and collect scientifically important samples in a dusty, dirty, real-world environment. The topography, morphology, and mineralogy of the scene around the rover will be revealed by Pancam/Mini-TES, an integrated imager and IR spectrometer. Pancam views the surface around the rover in stereo and color. It uses two high-resolution cameras that are identical in most respects to the rover's navigation cameras. The detectors are low-power, low-mass active pixel sensors with on-chip 12-bit analog-to-digital conversion. Filters provide 8-12 color spectral bandpasses over the spectral region from 0.4 to 1.1 micron Narrow-angle optics provide an angular resolution of 0.28 mrad/pixel, nearly a factor of four higher than that of the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Surveyor '98 cameras. Image compression will be performed using a wavelet compression algorithm. The Mini-Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) is a point spectrometer operating in -the thermal IR. It produces high spectral resolution (5 /cm) image cubes with a wavelength range of 5-40 gm, a nominal signal/noise ratio of 500:1, and a maximum angular resolution of 7 mrad (7 cm at a distance of 10 in). The wavelength region over which it operates samples the diagnostic fundamental absorption features of rockforming minerals, and also provides some capability to see through dust coatings that could tend to obscure spectral features. The mineralogical information that Mini-TES provides will be used to select from a distance the rocks and soils that will be investigated in more detail and ultimately sampled. Mini-TES is derived from the MO/MGS TES instrument, but is significantly smaller and simpler. The instrument uses an 8-cm Cassegrain telescope, a Michelson interferometer, and uncooled pyroelectric detectors. Along with its mineralogical capabilities, Mini-TES can provide information on the thermophysical properties of rocks and soils. Viewing upward, it can also provide temperature profiles through the martian atmospheric boundary layer. Elemental and Mineralogical Composition: Once promising samples have been identified from a distance using Pancam/Mini-TES, they will be studied in detail using up to three compositional sensors that can be placed directly against them by an Instrument Arm. The two compositional sensors, presently on the payload are an Alpha-Proton-X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), and a Mossbauer Spectrometer. The APXS is derived closely from the instrument that flew on Mars Pathfinder. Radioactive alpha sources and three detection modes (alpha, proton, and x-ray) provide elemental abundances of rocks and soils to complement and constrain mineralogical data. The Athena APXS will have a revised mechanical design that will cut down significantly on backscattering of alpha particles from martian atmospheric carbon. It will also include a target of known elemental composition that will be used for calibration purposes. The Athena Mossbauer Spectrometer is a diagnostic instrument for the mineralogy and oxidation state of Fe-bearing phases, which are particularly important on Mars. The instrument measures the resonant absorption of gamma rays produced by a Co-57 source to determine splitting of nuclear energy levels in Fe atoms that is related to the electronic environment surrounding them. It has been under development for space flight for many years at the Technical University of Darmstadt. The Mossbauer Spectrometer (and the other arm instruments) will be able to view a small permanent magnet array that will attract magnetic particles in the martian soil. The payload may also include a Raman Spectrometer. If included, the Raman Spectrometer will provide precise identification of major and minor mineral phases. It requires no sample preparation, and is also sensitive to organics. Fine-Scale Texture: The Instrument Arm a also carries a Microscopic Imager that will obtain high-resolution monochromatic images of the same materials for which compositional data will be obtained. Its spatial resolution is 20 micron/pixel over a 1 cm depth of field, and 40 micron/pixel over a 1-cm depth of field. Like Pancam, it uses the same active pixel sensor detectors and electronics as the rover's navigation cameras. The Instrument Arm is a three degree-of-freedom arm that uses designs and components from the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Surveyor '98 projects. Its primary function is instrument positioning. Along with the instruments noted above, it also carries a brush that can be used to remove dust and other loose coatings from rocks. Sample Collection and Storage: Martian rock and soil samples will be collected using a low-power rotary coring drill called the Mini-Corer. An important characteristic of this device is that it can obtain intact samples of rock from up to 5 cm within strong boulders and bedrock, Nominal core dimensions are 8xl7 mm. The Mini-Corer drills a core to the commanded depth in a rock, shears it off, retains it, and extracts it. It can also acquire samples of loose soil, using soil sample cups that are pressed downward into loose material. The Mini-Corer can drill at angles from vertical to 45' off vertical. It has six interchangeable bits for long life. Mechanical damage to the sample during drilling is minimal, and heating is negligible. After acquisition, the sample may be viewed by the arm instruments, and/or placed in one of 104 compartments in the Sample Container. A subset of the acquired samples may be replaced with other samples obtained later if desired. The Sample Container has no moving parts, and is mounted external to the rover for easy removal by the Mars Surveyor 2005 flight system. Operation of the rover will make extensive use of automated onboard navigation and hazard avoidance capabilities. Otherwise, use of onboard autonomy is minimal. Data downlink capability is about 40 Mbit/sol, and the use of the Mars Surveyor '01 orbiter for data relay imposes a limit of at most two command cycles per sol. Because of the significant amount of time available between command cycles, all payload elements will be operated sequentially, rather than in parallel.; this approach also significantly simplifies operations and minimizes peak power usage. The landing site for the '01 rover has not been selected yet. Site selection will make as full use as possible of Mars Global Surveyor data, and will involve substantial input from the broad Mars science community. Summary: The following table describes the mass, power, providers, and key scientific objectives of all the major elements of the Athena payload. Additional Athena payload information may be found at: http://astrosun.tn.cornell.edu/athena/index.html. Additional information contained in the original.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Mars Surveyor 2001 Landing Site Workshop
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Montgolfiere balloons can provide a unique near-surface platform for an extended traverse over the polar regions of Mars. During the polar summer, such solar powered balloons would remain in the constant sun of the polar summer and could remain airborne for many weeks or even months as the atmospheric circulation would drive the balloons around the polar region many times before the balloon would cross the terminator. Such a platform for scientific measurements could provide in situ sampling of the atmosphere for trace disequilibrium species that might be indicators of present geological or biological activity in this regon. It could furthermore provide high resolution imaging, deep electromagnetic (EM) sounding for subsurface stratigraphy and liquid water, and high spatial resolution neutron measurements of subsurface ice. Technologies for robust balloon deployment on entry and controlled encounters with the surface and near subsurface for sample acquisition in otherwise inaccessible regions are presently being studied and developed with support from NASA.
    Keywords: Exobiology
    Type: 3rd International Conference on Mars; 13-17 Oct. 2003; Alberta; Canada
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-07-10
    Description: The Mars Surveyor program requires tools for martian surface exploration, including remote sensing, in-situ sensing, and sample collection. The Athena Mars rover payload is a suite of scientific instruments and sample collection tools designed to: (1) Provide color stereo imaging of martian surface environments, and remotely-sensed point discrimination of mineralogical composition; (2) Determine the elemental and mineralogical composition of martian surface materials; (3) Determine the fine-scale textural properties of these materials; and (4) Collect and store samples. The Athena payload is designed to be implemented on a long-range rover such as the one now under consideration for the 2003 Mars opportunity. The payload is at a high state of maturity, and most of the instruments have now been built for flight.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: JSC-CN-6410 , Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration; Part 2; 289-290; LPI-Contrib-1062-Pt-2
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