Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Spirit Wraps Up Work In Voltaire Region

The view from Husband Hill reveals a complex series of hills and crater rims.
  • Desktop available - 1024x768
  • by Steve Squyres
    Mars Rover Principal Investigator
    Pasadena CA (JPL) Aug 08, 2005
    It'll have to be a quick one this week. Spirit is just wrapping up work in the Voltaire region. We gave Voltaire the full treatment with all of the arm instruments at Bourgeoisie, and then we took a bunch of MI images of a rock right next door named Hausmann.

    Great stuff... rounded to angular pebbles embedded in a very fine-grained matrix. There's a chance this stuff is what you'd call an "impact breccia": the jumbled up debris thrown out from a high-velocity impact. But we're looking at a few other options as well. After Hausmann we moved on to Assemblee, another rock a few meters away that looked unusual to Mini-TES.

    We're collecting Moessbauer data on Assemblee as I write this, and we've just gotten down some very interesting APXS data and MI images. The MI images (which should be on the web pretty soon) show more small pebbles embedded in fine-grained matrix, but the APXS data look different from anything we've ever seen before. We'll be very interested in what the Moessbauer has to say about Hausmann.

    Starting Monday, we'll be making our move toward the summit. This will go more slowly than we'd like, since we're in restricted sols with Spirit now... so for awhile we'll only be able to drive every other sol. But each drive will take us closer to the top, and closer to what we're all waiting for... that view down the south side of Husband Hill.

    At Meridiani, Opportunity is on bedrock! It's the first bedrock that we've seen up close on that side of the planet in months, and it feels very good. We've just put in our first RAT hole in a very long time, and we'll be studying it for a little while before moving on.

    With all this bedrock around us now, we've suddenly got a very long to-do list with Opportunity. Has the bedrock changed in chemistry since Vostok (which was the last place we saw rock)? Has it changed in mineralogy? What kind of layering do we see here? How did all of these polygonal fractures that we see in the rocks form?

    And here's a big one: What is the composition of all those loose pebbles or cobbles we see lying around? We've been wondering about this one forever. Are they just pieces of sulfate-rich rock?

    Are they pieces of something different that's been excavated from deep below the surface... a rock unit we've never seen before? Or are they little pieces of meteorite? There's a lot of this stuff lying around here, and we're going to try to nail this question pretty soon.

    So I'm not sure when we'll get to Erebus... there's so much new science right around us that we're not in a big hurry. We've been starving for a long time, and suddenly we've got a feast in front of us.

    And I suppose that the biggest news of all is simply that there's so much bedrock here. Our fear as we approached the bright materials in the etched terrain was that it wouldn't be rock at all... that it'd simply be dust that would make our route southward tedious at best and impassable at worst. But it's not dust, it's rock.

    And now we believe that all the bright stuff to the south of us is rock as well. The etched terrain isn't going to be easy to get through, but it's not going to be the impossible quagmire that we had feared it might be. So southward we go... once we get a little science done.

    Related Links
    Mars Rovers at JPL
    Mars Rovers at Cornell
    Search SpaceDaily
    Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

    Dual Rovers That Go On Planet Mars
    Pasadena CA (JPL) Aug 03, 2005
    A lot of the action was here on Earth last week. The science team for this mission has been together for about a decade, and during the first eight months after we landed we were all living and working together in Pasadena.

    Thanks for being here;
    We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

    With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

    Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

    If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

    SpaceDaily Contributor
    $5 Billed Once

    credit card or paypal
    SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
    $5 Billed Monthly

    paypal only

    Memory Foam Mattress Review
    Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
    XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

    The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.