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Mars Exploration Rovers


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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 04:40 AM

The Exploration of Mars -

Mars Exploration Rovers

The original "Exploration of Mars" topic became excessively long. As a result the topic has been split into individual, mission based, topics. The "Exploration of Mars" topic is now for news and discoveries not specific to any one mission.

Links to the other topics can be found below:Waspie_Dwarf

----------------------------


Bright Soil Near 'McCool'

While driving eastward toward the northwestern flank of "McCool Hill," the wheels of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit churned up the largest amount of bright soil discovered so far in the mission. This image from Spirit's panoramic camera (Pancam), taken on the rover's 788th Martian day, or sol, of exploration (March 22, 2006), shows the strikingly bright colors and large extent of the materials uncovered.

Several days earlier, Spirit's wheels unearthed a small patch of light-toned material informally named "Tyrone." In images from Spirit's panoramic camera, "Tyrone" strongly resembled both "Arad" and "Paso Robles," two patches of light-toned soils discovered earlier in the mission. Spirit found "Paso Robles" in 2005 while climbing "Cumberland Ridge" on the western slope of "Husband Hill." In early January 2006, the rover discovered "Arad" on the basin floor just south of "Husband Hill." Spirit's instruments confirmed that those soils had a salty chemistry dominated by iron-bearing sulfates. Spirit's Pancam and miniature thermal emission spectrometer examined this most recent discovery, and researchers will compare its properties with the properties of those other deposits.

These discoveries indicate that salty, light-toned soil deposits might be widely distributed on the flanks and valley floors of the "Columbia Hills" region in Gusev Crater on Mars. The salts, which are easily mobilized and concentrated in liquid solution, may record the past presence of water. So far, these enigmatic materials have generated more questions than answers, however, and as Spirit continues to drive across this region in search of a safe winter haven, the team continues to formulate and test hypotheses to explain the rover's most fascinating recent discovery.

linked-image
Click on image for high resolution version.

This view is an approximately true-color rendering that combines separate images taken through the Pancam's 753-nanometer, 535-nanometer, and 432-nanometer filters.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

Bright Soil Near 'McCool' (False Color)

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Click on image for high resolution version.

This image is a false-color rendering using using Pancam's 753-nanometer, 535-nanometer, and 432-nanometer filters.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

Bright Soil Near 'McCool' (3-D)

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This stereo view combines images from the two blue (430-nanometer) filters in the Pancam's left and right "eyes." The image should be viewed using red-and-blue stereo glasses, with the red over your left eye.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell



Source: NASA/JPL - Mars Exploration Rovers - Spirit

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 15 May 2007 - 02:09 AM.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#2    987654321

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 03:32 AM

looks like nevada


#3    Glacies

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 03:34 AM

I don't know about nevada, but that looks wicked. great pics yes.gif

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#4    frogfish

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 03:53 AM

Waspie, you indeed have a great fascination of the beauties of space yes.gif



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#5    Kryso

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 06:51 PM

Amazing images! grin2.gif


#6    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 10:58 AM

Spirt Images of 'Homeplate'

Coarse Layering at 'Home Plate'

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This image shows coarse-grained layers from around the edge of a low plateau called "Home Plate" inside Mars' Gusev Crater. One possible origin is material falling to the ground after being thrown aloft by an explosion such as a volcanic eruption or meteorite impact.

The panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired the exposures for this image on Spirit's 749th Martian day (Feb. 10, 2006). This view is an approximately true-color rendering mathematically generated from separate images taken through all of the left Pancam's 432-nanometer to 753-nanometer filters.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

'Home Plate' Evidence for an Explosive Past

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This view of layers around the edge of a low plateau called "Home Plate" inside Mars' Gusev Crater includes a feature that may be what geologists call a "bomb sag" and interpret as evidence of an explosive event, such as a volcanic eruption.

The layers seen here are generally straight and parallel except in the lower right, where they dip around a greyish rock that is about 4 centimeters (about 1.5 inches) in diameter. When layered deposits are struck by a falling rock while the layers are still soft, this type of pattern can be created. The rock might have been lofted by a volcanic burst or as part of the material ejected by the crater-forming impact of a meteorite.

The panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired the exposures for this image on Spirit's 754th Martian day (Feb. 15, 2006). This view is an approximately true-color rendering mathematically generated from separate images taken through all of the left Pancam's 432-nanometer to 753-nanometer filters.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell


Source: NASA/JPL - Mars Exploration Rovers - Spirit

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 13 April 2006 - 09:20 PM.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#7    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 11:06 AM

Stack of Layers at 'Payson' in Meridiani Planum

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The stack of fine layers exposed at a ledge called "Payson" on the western edge of "Erebus Crater" in Mars' Meridiani Planum shows a diverse range of primary and secondary sedimentary textures formed billions of years ago. These structures likely result from an interplay between windblown and water-involved processes.

The panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity acquired the exposures for this image on Spirit's 749th Martian day (Feb. 10, 2006). This view is an approximately true-color rendering mathematically generated from separate images taken through all of the left Pancam's 432-nanometer to 753-nanometer filters.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell


Source: NASA/JPL - Mars Exploration Rovers - Opportunity

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#8    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 09:19 PM

NASA Mars Rovers Head for New Sites After Studying Layers

NASA's Mars rover Spirit has reached a safe site for the Martian winter, while its twin, Opportunity, is making fast progress toward a destination of its own.

The two rovers recently set out on important -- but very different -- drives after earlier weeks inspecting sites with layers of Mars history. Opportunity finished examining sedimentary evidence of ancient water at a crater called "Erebus," and is now rapidly crossing flat ground toward the scientific lure of a much larger crater, "Victoria."

user posted image
Image above: This image from Spirit shows coarse-grained layers from
around the edge of a low plateau called "Home Plate" inside Mars' Gusev
Crater. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

+ Full image and caption


Spirit studied signs of a long-ago explosion at a bright, low plateau called "Home Plate" during February and March. Then one of its six wheels quit working, and Spirit struggled to complete a short advance to a north-facing slope for the winter. "For Spirit, the priority has been to reach a safe winter haven," said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover project.

The rovers have operated more than eight times as long as their originally planned three-month explorations on Mars. Each has driven more than 6.8 kilometers (4.2 miles) about 11 times as far as planned. Combined, they have returned more than 150,000 images. Two years ago, the project had already confirmed that at least one place on Mars had a wet and possibly habitable environment long ago. The scientific findings continue.

Opportunity spent most of the past four months at Erebus, a highly eroded impact crater about 300 meters (1,000 feet) in diameter, where the rover found extensive exposures of thin, rippled layering interpreted as a fingerprint of flowing water. "What we see at Erebus is a thicker interval of wetted sediment than we've seen anywhere else," said Dr. John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology, "The same outcrops also have cracks that may have formed from wetting and drying."

In mid-March, Opportunity began a 2-kilometer (1.6-mile) trek from Erebus to Victoria, a crater about 800 meters (half a mile) across, where a thick sequence of sedimentary rocks is exposed. In the past three weeks, Opportunity has already driven more than a fourth of that distance.

At Home Plate, Spirit found coarse layering overlain by finer layering in a pattern that fits accumulation of material falling to the ground after a volcanic or impact explosion. In one place, the layers are deformed where a golfball-size rock appears to have fallen on them while they were soft. "Geologists call that a 'bomb sag,' and it is strong evidence for some kind of explosive origin," Squyres said. "We would like to have had time to study Home Plate longer, but we needed to head for a north-facing slope before winter got too bad."

Spirit is in Mars' southern hemisphere, where the sun is crossing lower in the northern sky each day. The rovers rely on solar power. The amount available will keep dropping until the shortest days of the Mars winter, four months from now. To keep producing enough electricity to run overnight heaters that protect vital electronics, Spirit's solar panels must be tilted toward the winter sun by driving the rover onto north-facing slopes. However, on March 13 the right-front wheel's drive motor gave out. Spirit has subsequently driven about 80 meters (262 feet) using five wheels and dragging the sixth, but an initial route toward a large hill proved impassable due to soft ground. Last week, the team chose a smaller nearby ridge, dubbed "Low Ridge Haven," as the winter destination. Spirit reached the ridge Sunday and has a favorable 11-degree tilt toward the north.

"We have to use care choosing the type of terrain we drive over," Dr. Ash**ey Trebi-Ollennu, a rover planner at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., said about the challenge of five-wheel driving. In tests at JPL, the team has been practicing a maneuver to gain additional tilt by perching the left-front wheel on a basketball-size rock.

Spending eight months or so at Low Ridge Haven will offer time for many long-duration studies that members of the science team have been considering since early in the mission, said Dr. Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, deputy principal investigator. These include detailed mapping of rocks and soils; in-depth determination of rock and soil composition; monitoring of clouds and other atmospheric changes; watching for subtle surface changes due to winds; and learning properties of the shallow subsurface by tracking surface-temperature changes over a span of months.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate.

For images and information about the rovers, see www.nasa.gov/rovers or http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov
. For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit www.nasa.gov .


Media contact:Guy Webster (818) 354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dwayne Brown/Erica Hupp (202) 358-1726/1237
NASA Headquarters, Washington

2006-054


Source: NASA - Mars - Missions

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#9    .AKUMA.

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 11:05 PM

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#10    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 01:57 AM

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Finally Reaches a Potential Winter Haven
- sol 803-811, Apr 14, 2006:


Spirit is basking in the sun, relatively speaking, on a 10.8-degree, north-facing slope in Gusev Crater on Mars. After turning away from the rover's previous heading toward "McCool Hill" last week, Spirit started driving toward a nearby area known as "Low Ridge Haven" and arrived there over the weekend. Because rover drivers were able to get Spirit to a place where the solar panels tilt more steeply toward the sun, the rover's power output increased by 50 to 60 watt-hours per sol (a sol is one day on Mars). That gives the rover enough energy for about one hour of daytime remote science.

So far in this location, Spirit has collected a 360-degree panorama with the navigation camera, a smaller panorama with the panoramic camera, two targeted observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and five targeted images with the panoramic camera. Spirit also collected data with instruments on the robotic arm, including the microscopic imager, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and the Mössbauer spectrometer. All the rock and soil targets in this area are being informally named after Antarctic research stations and explorers.


Source: NASA/JPL - Rover Status - Spirit

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#11    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 01:59 PM

Paved Path for Opportunity

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As NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity continues a southward trek from "Erebus Crater" toward "Victoria Crater," the terrain consists of large sand ripples and patches of flat-lying rock outcrops, as shown in this image. Whenever possible, rover planners keep Opportunity on the "pavement" for best mobility.

This false-color image mosaic was assembled using images acquired by the panoramic camera on Opportunity's 784th sol (April 8, 2006) at about 11:45 a.m. local solar time. The camera used its 753-nanometer, 535-nanometer and 432-nanometer filters. This view shows a portion of the outcrop named "Bosque," including rover wheel tracks, fractured and finely-layered outcrop rocks and smaller, dark cobbles littered across the surface.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell


Source: NASA/JPL - Mars Exploration Rovers - Opportunity

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#12    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 07:48 PM

Spirit Scans Winter Haven

At least three different kinds of rocks await scientific analysis at the place where NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit will likely spend several months of Martian winter. They are visible in this picture, which the panoramic camera on Spirit acquired during the rover's 809th sol, or Martian day, of exploring Mars (April 12, 2006). Paper-thin layers of light-toned, jagged-edged rocks protrude horizontally from beneath small sand drifts; a light gray rock with smooth, rounded edges sits atop the sand drifts; and several dark gray to black, angular rocks with vesicles (small holes) typical of hardened lava lie scattered across the sand.



Scans Winter Haven

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This view is an approximately true-color rendering that combines images taken through the panoramic camera's 753-nanometer, 535-nanometer, and 432-nanometer filters.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell



Scans Winter Haven (False Color)

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This view is a false-color rendering that combines images taken through the panoramic camera's 753-nanometer, 535-nanometer, and 432-nanometer filters.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell


Source: NASA/JPL - Mars Exploration Rovers - Spirit

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#13    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 11:19 PM

Spirit Greets New Terrain, New Season on Mars

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In time to survive the Martian winter, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has driven to and parked on a north-facing slope in the "Columbia Hills." This vantage point will optimize solar power during the upcoming winter season and maximize the vehicle's ability to communicate with the NASA Odyssey orbiter.

Top science priorities for the coming months are a detailed, 360-degree panorama using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, a study of surface and subsurface soil properties, and monitoring of the atmosphere and its changes. The planned subsurface soil experiments will be a first for the Mars Exploration Rover mission. To conduct the study, Spirit will use the brush on the rock abrasion tool to carefully sweep away soil, much the way an archaeologist uses a brush to uncover artifacts. At each level, Spirit will measure the mineral and chemical properties and assess the physical nature (such as grain size, texture, hardness) of the material, using the Athena science instruments on the robotic arm. Of particular interest are vertical variations in soil characteristics that may indicate water-related deposition of sulfates and other minerals.

Panoramic images will provide important information about the nature and origin of surrounding rocks and soils. Spirit will also study the mineralogy of the surrounding terrain using the thermal emission spectrometer and search for surface changes caused by high winds. After the winter solstice in August, depending on energy levels, scientists may direct the rover to pivot around the disabled, right front wheel to get different targets within reach of the arm. When the winter season is over and solar energy levels rise again, scientists will direct Spirit to leave its winter campaign site and continue examining the "Columbia Hills."

Spirit acquired the images in this mosaic with the navigation camera on the rover's 807th Martian day, or sol, of exploring Gusev Crater on Mars (April 11, 2006). Approaching from the east are the rover's tracks, including a shallow trench created by the dragging front wheel. On the horizon, in the center of the panorama, is "McCool Hill." This view is presented in a cylindrical projection with geometric seam correction.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Source: NASA/JPL - Mars Exploration Rovers - Spirit

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 29 March 2007 - 01:02 AM.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#14    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 12:52 PM

Low Sun from 'Low Ridge'

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A spectacular field of Martian sand ripples separates NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit from the slopes of "Husband Hill." It has been 200 Martian days, or sols, since the rover started a descent from the top of the peak to the rover's current position on "Low Ridge." Looking back to the north on sol 813 (April 17, 2006), Spirit acquired this blue-filter (436-nanometer) view with the right panoramic camera (Pancam) while the Sun was low in the sky late in the afternoon. Because of the low-angle lighting (sunlight is coming from the left), images like this provide superb views of subtle textures in the topography both near and far. Husband Hill, where the rover was perched late last summer, rises prominently just left of center in this view. A 150-meter wide (500 foot) field of curving sand ripples named "El Dorado" lies at the base of Husband Hill.

By collecting photos like this at different times of day, when lighting comes from different directions, scientists can distinguish surface properties such as color and reflectivity from topography and roughness. By separating these components they can map more details of the geologic terrain, providing new clues about the geologic history of Gusev Crater.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

Source: NASA/JPL - Mars Exploration Rovers - Spirit

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 29 March 2007 - 01:04 AM.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#15    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 12:55 PM

Rolling Ripple

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NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity continues to cut southward across a plain marked by large sand ripples and a pavement of outcrop rock. The ripple in the center of the image shows a distinct pattern of banding, which the science team hopes to investigate more closely during the trek through this terrain. The banding and other features have inspired a hypothesis that Meridiani ripples are old features that are currently being eroded, and not transported, by wind. This navigation camera image was taken on Opportunity's sol 795, April 19, 2006.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Source: NASA/JPL - Mars Exploration Rovers - Opportunity

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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