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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-06-11
    Description: The Mars Pathfinder (MPF) landing site was predicted to contain a broad sampling of rock types varying in mineralogical, physical, mechanical and geochemical characteristics. Although rocks have been divided into several spectral categories based on Imager for Mars Pathfinder visible/near-infrared spectra, it has not been fully determined which of these stem from intrinsic mineralogical differences between rocks or rock surfaces, and which result from factors such as physical or chemical weathering. This has made isolation of unique mineralogy's difficult. Efforts in isolating and classifying spectral units among MPF rocks and soils have met with varying degrees of success, and the current understanding is such that many factors influencing spectral signatures cannot be quantified to a sufficient level so they may be removed. The result is that fundamental questions regarding information needed to reveal the present and past interactions between the rocks and rock surfaces and the Martian environment remain unanswered. But it is possible to approach the issue of identifying distinct rock and rock surface types from a different angle.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Mars: Gullies, Fluids, and Rocks; LPI-Contrib-1197
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: We have examined the morphology of rocks in two regions of the MPF landing site in terms of location, size and dimensions, sphericity sphericity and elongation, and have correlated this information with spectral data extracted from associated rock surfaces, with the goal of improving the likelihood of discerning between rock and rock surface types. We use four highly diverse Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) images centered on Mini-Matterhorn and the Rock Garden because they are suited to demonstrate the wide morphologic variation of rocks at the site. A sampling of rocks was chosen at these locations that represented a range of shapes, textures and spectral signatures. In this initial analysis we focused upon the largest rocks that are situated in such a way as to allow easy viewing of most of the faces.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIV; LPI-Contrib-1156
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: The Mars Pathfinder (MPF) landing site was predicted to contain a broad sampling of rock types varying in mineralogical, physical, mechanical and geochemical characteristics. Although rocks have been divided into several spectral categories based on Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) visible/near-infrared data, efforts in isolating and classifying spectral units among MPF rocks and soils have met with varying degrees of success, as many factors influencing spectral signatures cannot be quantified to a sufficient level to be removed. It has not been fully determined which spectral categories stem from intrinsic mineralogical differences between rocks or rock surfaces, and which result from factors such as physical or chemical weathering. This has made isolation of unique rock mineralogies difficult. Morphology, like composition, is a characteristic tied to the intrinsic properties and geologic and weathering history of rocks. Rock morphologies can be assessed quantitatively and compared with spectral data, to identify and classify rock types at the MPF landing site. They can also isolate actual rock spectra from spectral types that are surficial in origin, as compositions associated with mantling dust or chemical coatings would presumably not influence rock morphology during weathering events. We previously reported on an initial classification of rocks using the quantitative morphologic indices of size, roundness, sphericity and elongation. Here, we compare this database of rock characteristics with associated rock surface spectra to improve our ability to discriminate between spectra associated with rock types and those from other sources.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 22; LPI-Contrib-1234-Pt-22
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2014-11-22
    Description: The Rocknest aeolian deposit is similar to aeolian features analyzed by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Spirit and Opportunity. The fraction of sand 〈150 micron in size contains approx. 55% crystalline material consistent with a basaltic heritage, and approx. 45% X-ray amorphous material. The amorphous component of Rocknest is Fe-rich and Si-poor, and is the host of the volatiles (H2O, O2, SO2, CO2, and Cl) detected by the Surface Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument and of the fine-grained nanophase oxide (npOx) component first described from basaltic soils analyzed by MER. The similarity between soils and aeolian materials analyzed at Gusev crater, Meridiani Planum and Gale crater implies locally sourced, globally similar basaltic materials, or globally and regionally sourced basaltic components deposited locally at all three locations.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: ARC-E-DAA-TN11260
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The geologic objectives of the Dawn Mission are to derive Vesta's shape, map the surface geology, understand the geological context and contribute to the determination of the asteroids' origin and evolution. Geomorphology and distribution of surface features will provide evidence for impact cratering, tectonic activity, volcanism, and regolith processes. Spectral measurements of the surface will provide evidence of the compositional characteristics of geological units. Age information, as derived from crater size-frequency distributions, provides the stratigraphic context for the structural and compositional mapping results into the stratigraphic context and thusrevealing the geologic history of Vesta.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Institute Conference; 7-11 Mar. 2011; The Woodlands, TX; United States
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: We produced a geologic map of the Av-9 Numisia quadrangle of asteroid Vesta using Dawn spacecraft data to serve as a tool to understand the geologic relations of surface features in this region. These features include the plateau Vestalia Terra, a hill named Brumalia Tholus, and an unusual "dark ribbon" material crossing the majority of the map area. Stratigraphic relations suggest that Vestalia Terra is one of the oldest features on Vesta, despite a model crater age date similar to that of much of the surface of the asteroid. Cornelia, Numisia and Drusilla craters reveal bright and dark material in their walls, and both Cornelia and Numisia have smooth and pitted terrains on their floors suggestive of the release of volatiles during or shortly after the impacts that formed these craters. Cornelia, Fabia and Teia craters have extensive bright ejecta lobes. While diogenitic material has been identified in association with the bright Teia and Fabia ejecta, hydroxyl has been detected in the dark material within Cornelia, Numisia and Drusilla. Three large pit crater chains appear in the map area, with an orientation similar to the equatorial troughs that cut the majority of Vesta. Analysis of these features has led to several interpretations of the geological history of the region. Vestalia Terra appears to be mechanically stronger than the rest of Vesta. Brumalia Tholus may be the surface representation of a dike-fed laccolith. The dark ribbon feature is proposed to represent a long-runout ejecta flow from Drusilla crater.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN19233 , Icarus Special Issue: The Geology of Vesta; 244; 89-103
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: We used Dawn spacecraft data to identify and delineate geological units and landforms in the Marcia quadrangle of Vesta as a means to assess the role of the large, relatively young impact craters Marcia (approximately 63 kilometers diameter) and Calpurnia (approximately 53 kilometers diameter) and their surrounding ejecta field on the local geology. We also investigated a local topographic high with a dark-rayed crater named Aricia Tholus, and the impact crater Octavia that is surrounded by a distinctive diffuse mantle. Crater counts and stratigraphic relations suggest that Marcia is the youngest large crater on Vesta, in which a putative impact melt on the crater floor ranges in age between approximately 40 and 60 million years (depending upon choice of chronology system), and Marcia's ejecta blanket ranges in age between approximately 120 and 390 million years (depending upon choice of chronology system). We interpret the geologic units in and around Marcia crater to mark a major Vestan time-stratigraphic event, and that the Marcia Formation is one of the geologically youngest formations on Vesta. Marcia crater reveals pristine bright and dark material in its walls and smooth and pitted terrains on its floor. The smooth unit we interpret as evidence of flow of impact melts and (for the pitted terrain) release of volatiles during or after the impact process. The distinctive dark ejecta surrounding craters Marcia and Calpurnia is enriched in OH- or H-bearing phases and has a variable morphology, suggestive of a complex mixture of impact ejecta and impact melts including dark materials possibly derived from carbonaceous chondrite-rich material. Aricia Tholus, which was originally interpreted as a putative Vestan volcanic edifice based on lower resolution observations, appears to be a fragment of an ancient impact basin rim topped by a dark-rayed impact crater. Octavia crater has a cratering model formation age of approximately 280-990 million years based on counts of its ejecta field (depending upon choice of chronology system), and its ejecta field is the second oldest unit in this quadrangle. The relatively young craters and their related ejecta materials in this quadrangle are in stark contrast to the surrounding heavily cratered units that are related to the billion years old or older Rheasilvia and Veneneia impact basins and Vesta's ancient crust preserved on Vestalia Terra.
    Keywords: Astrophysics; Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN19232 , Icarus; 244; 74-88
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is focused on assessing the past or present habitability of Mars, through interrogation of environment and environmental records at the Curiosity rover field site in Gale crater. The MSL team has two methods available to collect, process and deliver samples to onboard analytical laboratories, the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite. One approach obtains samples by drilling into a rock, the other uses a scoop to collect loose regolith fines. Scooping was planned to be first method performed on Mars because materials could be readily scooped multiple times and used to remove any remaining, minute terrestrial contaminants from the sample processing system, the Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA). Because of this cleaning effort, the ideal first material to be scooped would consist of fine to very fine sand, like the interior of the Serpent Dune studied by the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit team in 2004 [1]. The MSL team selected a linear eolian deposit in the lee of a group of cobbles they named Rocknest (Fig. 1) as likely to be similar to Serpent Dune. Following the definitions in Chapter 13 of Bagnold [2], the deposit is termed a sand shadow. The scooping campaign occurred over approximately 6 weeks in October and November 2012. To support these activities, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) acquired images for engineering support/assessment and scientific inquiry.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: JSC-CN-27937 , Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; 18-22 Mar. 2013; The Woodlands, TX; United States
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: By 7-October-2011, the Dawn mission will have completed Survey orbit and commenced high altitude mapping of 4-Vesta. We present a preliminary analysis of data acquired by Dawn's Framing Camera (FC) and the Visual and InfraRed Spectrometer (VIR) to map mineralogy and surface temperature, and to detect and quantify surficial OH. The radiometric calibration of VIR and FC is described. Background counting data acquired by GRaND are used to determine elemental detection limits from measurements at low altitude, which will commence in November. Geochemical models used in the interpretation of the data are described. Thermal properties, mineral-, and geochemical-data are combined to provide constraints on Vesta s formation and thermal evolution, the delivery of exogenic materials, space weathering processes, and the origin of the howardite, eucrite, and diogenite (HED) meteorites.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: JSC-CN-23978 , EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2011; 2-7 Oct. 2011; Nantes; France
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: NASA's Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATS) field test is one of several analog tests that NASA conducts each year to combine operations development, technology advances and science under planetary surface conditions. The D-RATS focus is testing preliminary operational concepts for extravehicular activity (EVA) systems in the field using simulated surface operations and EVA hardware and procedures. For 2010 hardware included the Space Exploration Vehicles, Habitat Demonstration Units, Tri-ATHLETE, and a suite of new geology sample collection tools, including a self-contained GeoLab glove box for conducting in-field analysis of various collected rock samples. The D-RATS activities develop technical skills and experience for the mission planners, engineers, scientists, technicians, and astronauts responsible for realizing the goals of exploring planetary surfaces.
    Keywords: Space Sciences (General)
    Type: JSC-CN-22850 , 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; 7-11 Mar. 2011; The Woodlands, TX; United States
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