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The enormous pre-Nectarian South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin represents a geophysically and compositionally unique region on the Moon. We present and analyze the mineralogical diversity across this basin and discuss the implications for basin evolution. Rock types are derived from Clementine multispectral data based on diagnostic characteristics of ferrous absorptions in fresh materials. Individual areas are characterized as noritic (dominated by low-Ca pyroxene), gabbroic/basaltic (dominated by high-Ca pyroxene), feldspathic (<3-6% FeO), and olivine-gabbro (dominated by high-Ca pyroxene and olivine). The anorthositic crust has effectively been removed from the interior of the basin. The style of volcanism within the...
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Airborne Visible/Near-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data acquired over the Ka u Desert are atmospherically corrected to ground reflectance and used to identify the mineralogic components of relatively young basaltic materials, including 250-700 and 200-400 year old lava flows, 1971 and 1974 flows, ash deposits, and solfatara incrustations. To provide context, a geologic surface units map is constructed, verified with field observations, and supported by laboratory analyses. AVIRIS spectral endmembers are identified in the visible (0.4 to 1.2 ??m) and short wave infrared (2.0 to 2.5 ??m) wavelength ranges. Nearly all the spectral variability is controlled by the presence of ferrous and ferric iron in such...
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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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We report the results of low temperature (-10??C) experiments on the stability fields and phase transition pathways of five hydrous Mg-sulfates. A low temperature form of MgSO 47H 2O (LT-7w) was found to have a wide stability field that extends to low relative humidity (???13% RH at-10??C). Using information on the timing of phase transitions, we extracted information on the reaction rates of five important dehydration and rehydration processes. We found that the temperature dependencies of rate constants for dehydration processes differ from those of rehydration, which reflect differences in reaction mechanisms. By extrapolating these rate constants versus T correlations into the T range relevant to Mars, we can...
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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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The Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) windsock experiment measured wind speeds at three heights within 1.2 m of the Martian surface during Pathfinder landed operations. These wind data allowed direct measurement of near-surface wind profiles on Mars for the first time, including determination of aerodynamic roughness length and wind friction speeds. Winds were light during periods of windsock imaging, but data from the strongest breezes indicate aerodynamic roughness length of 3 cm at the landing site, with wind friction speeds reaching 1 m/s. Maximum wind friction speeds were about half of the threshold-of-motion friction speeds predicted for loose, fine-grained materials on smooth Martian terrain and about one...
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To ensure a successful touchdown and subsequent surface operations, the Mars Exploration Program 2007 Phoenix Lander must land within 65° to 72° north latitude, at an elevation less than −3.5 km. The landing site must have relatively low wind velocities and rock and slope distributions similar to or more benign than those found at the Viking Lander 2 site. Also, the site must have a soil cover of at least several centimeters over ice or icy soil to meet science objectives of evaluating the environmental and habitability implications of past and current near‐polar environments. The most challenging aspects of site selection were the extensive rock fields associated with crater rims and ejecta deposits and the centers...
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The ∼750 m diameter and ∼75 m deep Victoria crater in Meridiani Planum, Mars, is a degraded primary impact structure retaining a ∼5 m raised rim consisting of 1–2 m of uplifted rocks overlain by ∼3 m of ejecta at the rim crest. The rim is 120–220 m wide and is surrounded by a dark annulus reaching an average of 590 m beyond the raised rim. Comparison between observed morphology and that expected for pristine craters 500–750 m across indicates that the original, pristine crater was close to 600 m in diameter. Hence, the crater has been erosionally widened by ∼150 m and infilled by ∼50 m of sediments. Eolian processes are responsible for most crater modification, but lesser mass wasting or gully activity contributions...
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The Microscopic Imager (MI) on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has returned images of Mars with higher resolution than any previous camera system, allowing detailed petrographic and sedimentological studies of the rocks and soils at the Gusev landing site. Designed to simulate a geologist's hand lens, the MI is mounted on Spirit's instrument arm and can resolve objects 0.1 mm in size or larger. This paper provides an overview of MI operations, data calibration, processing, and analysis of MI data returned during the first 450 sols (Mars days) of the Spirit landed mission. The primary goal of this paper is to facilitate further analyses of MI data by summarizing the methods used to acquire and process the data,...
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Each Mars Exploration Rover carries an integrated suite of scientific instruments and tools called the Athena science payload. The primary objective of the Athena science investigation is to explore two sites on the Martian surface where water may once have been present, and to assess past environmental conditions at those sites and their suitability for life. The remote sensing portion of the payload uses a mast called the Pancam Mast Assembly (PMA) that provides pointing for two instruments: the Panoramic Camera (Pancam), and the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini‐TES). Pancam provides high‐resolution, color, stereo imaging, while Mini‐TES provides spectral cubes at mid‐infrared wavelengths. For in‐situ...
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The entire surface of the planet Venus is being mapped at global and regional scales (1:50,000,000 through 1:1,500,000) with synthetic aperture radar (SAR), radar altimeter, and radiometer measurements of physical properties from the Magellan spacecraft. The mapping includes SAR image mosaics, shaded relief maps, and topographic contour overlays made from altimetry data and by radargrammetric methods. Methods used include new techniques of radar image processing that became operational as a result of the Magellan mission. The area being mapped (at a resolution of 75 m/pixel) is roughly equivalent to that of Earth, including seafloors. The mapping is designed to support geologic and geophysical investigations.
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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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The ChemCam instrument package on the Mars rover, Curiosity, provides new capabilities to probe the abundances of certain trace elements in the rocks and soils on Mars using the laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy technique. We focus on detecting and quantifying Li, Ba, Rb, and Sr in targets analyzed during the first 100 sols, from Bradbury Landing Site to Rocknest. Univariate peak area models and multivariate partial least squares models are presented. Li, detected for the first time directly on Mars, is generally low (<15 ppm). The lack of soil enrichment in Li, which is highly fluid mobile, is consistent with limited influx of subsurface waters contributing to the upper soils. Localized enrichments of up to...
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Only a few impact craters have been unambiguously detected on Titan by the Cassini-Huygens mission. Among these, Sinlap is the only one that has been observed both by the RADAR and VIMS instruments. This paper describes observations at centimeter and infrared wavelengths which provide complementary information about the composition, topography, and surface roughness. Several units appear in VIMS false color composites of band ratios in the Sinlap area, suggesting compositional heterogeneities. A bright pixel possibly related to a central peak does not show significant spectral variations, indicating either that the impact site was vertically homogeneous, or that this area has been recovered by homogeneous deposits....
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In the first 6 months of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's Primary Science Phase, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera has returned images sampling the diversity of volcanic terrains on Mars. While many of these features were noted in earlier imaging, they are now seen with unprecedented clarity. We find that some volcanic vents produced predominantly effusive products while others generated mostly pyroclastics. Flood lavas were emplaced in both turbulent and gentle eruptions, producing roofed channels and inflation features. However, many areas on Mars are too heavily mantled to allow meter-scale volcanic features to be discerned. In particular, the major volcanic edifices are extensively...
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The stratigraphy of the layered deposits of the polar regions of Mars is theorized to contain a record of recent climate change linked to insolation changes driven by variations in the planet's orbital and rotational parameters. In order to confidently link stratigraphic signals to insolation periodicities, a description of the stratigraphy is required based on quantities that directly relate to intrinsic properties of the layers. We use stereo Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) to derive a characteristic of North Polar Layered Deposits (NPLD) strata that can be correlated over large distances: the topographic protrusion of layers exposed in troughs, which...
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Many of the 932 impact craters discovered by the Magellan spacecraft at Venus are associated with lobate flows that originate at or near the crater rim. They extend for several to several hundred kilometers from the crater, and they commonly have a strong radar backscatter. A morphologic study of all identifiable crater outflows on Venus has revealed that many individual flows each consist of two areas, defined by distinct morphologic features. These two areas appear to represent two stages of deposition for each flow. The part of the flow that is generally deposited closest to the crater tends to be on the downrange side of the crater, flows in the downrange direction, and it is interpreted to be a late-stage ejecta....
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Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data have been used to construct Digital Elevation Models (DEM) of the Martian volcanoes in order to determine height, flank slope, caldera depth, and volumes. Summit elevations range from 21.1 km to -0.5 km, and relief varies from 1.0 km to almost 22 km. Average flank slopes are in the range of <1?? to ???10??, consistent with basaltic shield volcanism. The very low slopes of highland patera are also consistent with pyroclastic volcanism. Minimum volumes range from <1012 to 1015 m3. Estimates of the time required to build these volcanoes, on the basis of long-term terrestrial eruption rates, range from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of years. Copyright 2004 by the...
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The part of the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer (CRISM) for Mars investigation conducted during the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's (MRO's) primary science phase was a comprehensive investigation of past aqueous environments, structure of the planet's crust, past climate, and current meteorology. The measurements to implement this investigation include over 9500 targeted observations of surface features taken at spatial resolutions of better than 40 m/pixel, monitoring of seasonal variations in atmospheric aerosols and trace gases, and acquisition of a 200 m/pixel map covering over 55% of Mars in 72 selected wavelengths under conditions of relatively low atmospheric opacity. Key results from these data...