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Lecture 26

GEO 330 Lecture 26: Landing Sites -- Surface Properties and Processes - 2

Course Code
GEO 330
Timothy Glotch

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Identical rovers sent to Meridiani Planum and Gusev Crater
Search for evidence of water -- hydrothermal, evaporite ,or sedimentary deposits
Panoramic Cameras (Pancam)
Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES)
Microscopic Imager (MI)
Mossbauer Spectrometer (MB)
Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS)
Scientific instruments:
Mars Exploration Rovers
Gusev is a 160km Noachian crater near the plains/highlands boundary
Thought to have once contained a lake -- southern wall breached by Ma'adim Vallis
Later examination of low hills found extensive evidence for aqueous alteration
Bottom of Gusev found to contain volcanic rocks rather than sedimentary deposits
Spirit at Gusev Crater
Starts 1000 km to the south, before ending in Gusev crater
Over most of its length, it is 8-10 km wide and 1 km deep
Abrupt start and large size is similar to outflow channels, but it also has numerous
Formed as a result of massive drainage of Noachian lake?
Ma’adim Vallis, one of the largest valleys on Mars, combines some characteristics of a valley
network and an outflow channel
If hills are remnants of a delta, water level must have been~300 m above present day crater
Breach point of Gusev contains large flat-topped hills interpreted as a delta deposit
Apollinaris Patera lies just to the north, and may have been a source of volcanic ash deposits
Remnants of the Medussa Fossae Formation to the northeast may be present in the eastern
part of Gusev
Volcanic intrusions, wind-blown sediment, and impact ejecta may also contribute to crater
floor material
Rover sent to look for lake sediments, but a variety of materials are probably of diverse origin
Several filled-in craters on the Gusev floor suggest that a large amount of time elapsed between
the formation of Gusev and the deposition of all the floor deposits
Gusev Crater -- Geologic Context
Spirit landed near the center of Gusev ~20km to the west of Thira rim
Landing site characterized by relatively flat, rocky plains -- from the ground, site does not look too
dissimilar from Viking or Pathfinder sites
Rover characterized rocks in vicinity of lander and then moved 300m NE to rim of Bonneville
From Bonneville, rover travelled 2.6km to Columbia Hills, where it explored until 2010
Plains are a rocky surface crossed by poorly defined ridges and numerous shallow hollows that are
probably secondary craters
Between rocks, surface is covered with light-toned reddish regolith
Gusev Crater -- Plains
Landing Sites -- Surface Properties and Processes
Thursday, May 3, 2018
1:45 PM
GEO 330 Page 1
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