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Filters: Tags: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets (X) > partyWithName: J. R. Johnson (X)

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The dust in the atmosphere above the Mars Pathfinder landing site produced a bright, red sky that increases in redness toward the horizon at midday. There is also evidence for an absorption band in the scattered light from the sky at 860 nm. A model of the sky brightness has been developed [Markiewicz et al., this issue] and tested against Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) observations of calibration targets on the lander. The resulting model has been used to quantify the total diffuse flux onto a surface parallel to the local level for several solar elevation angles and optical depths. The model shows that the diffuse illumination in shadowed areas is strongly reddened while areas illuminated directly by the Sun...
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The Navigation Camera (Navcam) instruments on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) spacecraft provide support for both tactical operations as well as scientific observations where color information is not necessary: large-scale morphology, atmospheric monitoring including cloud observations and dust devil movies, and context imaging for both the thermal emission spectrometer and the in situ instruments on the Instrument Deployment Device. The Navcams are a panchromatic stereoscopic imaging system built using identical charge-coupled device (CCD) detectors and nearly identical electronics boards as the other cameras on the MER spacecraft. Previous calibration efforts were primarily focused on providing a detailed geometric...
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In the Inner Basin of the Columbia Hills, Gusev Crater is Home Plate, an 80 m platform of layered elastic rocks of the Barnhill class with microscopic and macroscopic textures, including a bomb sag, suggestive of a phreatomagmatic origin. We present data acquired by the Spirit Mars Exploration Rover by Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), Mo??ssbauer Spectrometer, Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES), and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) for the Barnhill class rocks and nearby vesicular Irvine class basalts. In major element concentrations (e.g., SiO2, Al2O3, MgO, and FeO*), the two rock classes are similar, suggesting that they are derived from a similar magmatic source. The Barnhill class, however,...
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The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit analyzed multiple occurrences of sulfur-rich, light-toned soils along its traverse within Gusev Crater. These hydrated deposits are not readily apparent in images of undisturbed soil but are present at shallow depths and were exposed by the actions of the rover wheels. Referred to as 'Paso Robles' class soils, they are dominated by ferric iron sulfates, silica, and Mg-sulfates. Ca-sulfates, Ca-phosphates, and other minor phases are also indicated in certain specific samples. The chemical compositions are highly variable over both centimeter-scale distances and between the widely separated exposures, but they clearly reflect the elemental signatures of nearby rocks. The quantity...
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The Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) on board the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is part of a payload designed to investigate whether a lake once existed in Gusev Crater. Mini-TES has observed hundreds of rocks along the rover's traverse into the Columbia Hills, yielding information on their distribution, bulk mineralogy, and the potential role of water at the site. Although dust in various forms produces contributions to the spectra, we have established techniques for dealing with it. All of the rocks encountered on the plains traverse from the lander to the base of the Columbia Hills share common spectral features consistent with an olivine-rich basaltic rock known as Adirondack Class. Beginning...
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Visible and near-infrared (VNIR) multispectral observations of rocks made by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's Panoramic camera (Pancam) have been analyzed using a spectral mixture analysis (SMA) methodology. Scenes have been examined from the Gusev crater plains into the Columbia Hills. Most scenes on the plains and in the Columbia Hills could be modeled as three end-member mixtures of a bright material, rock, and shade. Scenes of rocks disturbed by the rover's Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) required additional end-members. In the Columbia Hills, there were a number of scenes in which additional rock end-members were required. The SMA methodology identified relatively dust-free areas on undisturbed rock surfaces as...
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Using the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, we have compiled one of the first field geologic maps on Mars while traversing the Noachian terrain along the rim of the 22 km diameter Endeavour Crater (Latitude −2°16′33″, Longitude −5°10′51″). In situ mapping of the petrographic, elemental, structural, and stratigraphic characteristics of outcrops and rocks distinguishes four mappable bedrock lithologic units. Three of these rock units predate the surrounding Burns formation sulfate-rich sandstones and one, the Matijevic Formation, represents conditions on early Mars predating the formation of Endeavour Crater. The stratigraphy assembled from these observations includes several geologic unconformities. The differences...
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Chemical, mineralogic, and lithologic ground truth was acquired for the first time on Mars in terrain units mapped using orbital Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (MRO HiRISE) image data. Examination of several dozen outcrops shows that Mars is geologically complex at meter length scales, the record of its geologic history is well exposed, stratigraphic units may be identified and correlated across significant areas on the ground, and outcrops and geologic relationships between materials may be analyzed with techniques commonly employed in terrestrial field geology. Despite their burial during the course of Martian geologic time by widespread epiclastic materials, mobile fines,...
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Mars Pathfinder obtained multispectral, elemental, magnetic, and physical measurements of soil and dust at the Sagan Memorial Station during the course of its 83 sol mission. We describe initial results from these measurements, concentrating on multispectral and elemental data, and use these data, along with previous Viking, SNC meteorite, and telescopic results, to help constrain the origin and evolution of Martian soil and dust. We find that soils and dust can be divided into at least eight distinct spectral units, based on parameterization of Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) 400 to 1000 nm multispectral images. The most distinctive spectral parameters for soils and dust are the reflectivity in the red, the red/blue...
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Thin coatings of atmospherically deposited dust can mask the spectral characteristics of underlying surfaces on Mars from the visible to thermal infrared wavelengths, making identification of substrate and coating mineralogy difficult from lander and orbiter spectrometer data. To study the spectral effects of dust coatings, we acquired thermal emission and hemispherical reflectance spectra (5-25 μm; 2000-400 cm-1) of basaltic andesite coated with different thicknesses of air fall-deposited palagonitic soils, fine-grained ceramic clay powders, and terrestrial loess. The results show that thin coatings (10-20 μm) reduce the spectral contrast of the rock substrate substantially, consistent with previous work. This...
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The Yellowknife Bay formation represents a ~5 m thick stratigraphic section of lithified fluvial and lacustrine sediments analyzed by the Curiosity rover in Gale crater, Mars. Previous works have mainly focused on the mudstones that were drilled by the rover at two locations. The present study focuses on the sedimentary rocks stratigraphically above the mudstones by studying their chemical variations in parallel with rock textures. Results show that differences in composition correlate with textures and both manifest subtle but significant variations through the stratigraphic column. Though the chemistry of the sediments does not vary much in the lower part of the stratigraphy, the variations in alkali elements...
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The Panoramic Camera (Pancam) on the Mars Exploration Rover mission has acquired in excess of 20,000 images of the Pancam calibration targets on the rovers. Analysis of this data set allows estimates of the rate of deposition and removal of aeolian dust on both rovers. During the first 150-170 sols there was gradual dust accumulation on the rovers but no evidence for dust removal. After that time there is ample evidence for both dust removal and dust deposition on both rover decks. We analyze data from early in both rover missions using a diffusive reflectance mixing model. Assuming a dust settling rate proportional to the atmospheric optical depth, we derive spectra of optically thick layers of airfall dust that...
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Upcoming Mars Surveyor lander missions will include extensive spectroscopic capabilities designed to improve interpretations of the mineralogy and geology of landing sites on Mars. The 1999 Marsokhod Field Experiment (MFE) was a Mars rover simulation designed in part to investigate the utility of visible/near-infrared and thermal infrared field spectrometers to contribute to the remote geological exploration of a Mars analog field site in the California Mojave Desert. The experiment simultaneously investigated the abilities of an off-site science team to effectively analyze and acquire useful imaging and spectroscopic data and to communicate efficiently with rover engineers and an on-site field team to provide meaningful...
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This paper describes our photogrammetric analysis of the Imager for Mars Pathfinder data, part of a broader program of mapping the Mars Pathfinder landing site in support of geoscience investigations. This analysis, carried out primarily with a commercial digital photogrammetric system, supported by our in‐house Integrated Software for Imagers and Spectrometers (ISIS), consists of three steps: (1) geometric control: simultaneous solution for refined estimates of camera positions and pointing plus three‐dimensional (3‐D) coordinates of ∼103 features sitewide, based on the measured image coordinates of those features; (2) topographic modeling: identification of ∼3×105 closely spaced points in the images and calculation...
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Mars Pathfinder successfully landed at Ares Vallis on July 4, 1997, deployed and navigated a small rover about 100 m clockwise around the lander, and collected data from three science instruments and ten technology experiments. The mission operated for three months and returned 2.3 Gbits of data, including over 16,500 lander and 550 rover images, 16 chemical analyses of rocks and soil, and 8.5 million individual temperature, pressure and wind measurements. Path‐finder is the best known location on Mars, having been clearly identified with respect to other features on the surface by correlating five prominent horizon features and two small craters in lander images with those in high‐resolution orbiter images and...
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Chemical, mineralogic, and lithologic ground truth was acquired for the first time on Mars in terrain units mapped using orbital Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (MRO HiRISE) image data. Examination of several dozen outcrops shows that Mars is geologically complex at meter length scales, the record of its geologic history is well exposed, stratigraphic units may be identified and correlated across significant areas on the ground, and outcrops and geologic relationships between materials may be analyzed with techniques commonly employed in terrestrial field geology. Despite their burial during the course of Martian geologic time by widespread epiclastic materials, mobile fines,...
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The weathering of meteorites found on Mars involves chemical and physical processes that can provide clues to climate conditions at the location of their discovery. Beginning on sol 1961, the Opportunity rover encountered three large iron meteorites within a few hundred meters of each other. In order of discovery, these rocks have been assigned the unofficial names Block Island, Shelter Island, and Mackinac Island. Each rock presents a unique but complimentary set of features that increase our understanding of weathering processes at Meridiani Planum. Significant morphologic characteristics interpretable as weathering features include (1) a large pit in Block Island, lined with delicate iron protrusions suggestive...
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The presence of outcrops and soil (regolith) rich in opaline silica (∼65–92 wt % SiO2) in association with volcanic materials adjacent to the “Home Plate” feature in Gusev crater is evidence for hydrothermal conditions. The Spirit rover has supplied a diverse set of observations that are used here to better understand the formation of silica and the activity, abundance, and fate of water in the first hydrothermal system to be explored in situ on Mars. We apply spectral, chemical, morphological, textural, and stratigraphic observations to assess whether the silica was produced by acid sulfate leaching of precursor rocks, by precipitation from silica‐rich solutions, or by some combination. The apparent lack of S enrichment...
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The Panoramic Camera (Pancam) investigation is part of the Athena science payload launched to Mars in 2003 on NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. The scientific goals of the Pancam investigation are to assess the high‐resolution morphology, topography, and geologic context of each MER landing site, to obtain color images to constrain the mineralogic, photometric, and physical properties of surface materials, and to determine dust and aerosol opacity and physical properties from direct imaging of the Sun and sky. Pancam also provides mission support measurements for the rovers, including Sun‐finding for rover navigation, hazard identification and digital terrain modeling to help guide long‐term rover...
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The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity touched down at Meridiani Planum in January 2004 and since then has been conducting observations with the Athena science payload. The rover has traversed more than 5 km, carrying out the first outcrop‐scale investigation of sedimentary rocks on Mars. The rocks of Meridiani Planum are sandstones formed by eolian and aqueous reworking of sand grains that are composed of mixed fine‐grained siliciclastics and sulfates. The siliciclastic fraction was produced by chemical alteration of a precursor basalt. The sulfates are dominantly Mg‐sulfates and also include Ca‐sulfates and jarosite. The stratigraphic section observed to date is dominated by eolian bedforms, with subaqueous current...