Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Martian Rover 'Opportunity' Finds Evidence of Water Flows at Ancient Impact Crater Endeavour

07.05.2012
Evidence of ancient water at a Martian crater is the latest in a long series of discoveries by a surprisingly long-lived Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, according to a paper published in the May 4 edition of the journal Science entitled, “Ancient Impact and Aqueous Processes at Endeavour Crater, Mars.” The latest discovery was made at the rim of the Endeavour Crater, a large ancient impact crater on Mars measuring 14 miles in diameter.

“The rover discovered evidence for low temperature liquid water and environments that would be conducive for life,” said Scott M. McLennan, Professor of Geochemistry at Stony Brook University and a member of the team that published the paper (Steven Squyres of Cornell University headed the team and is the principal investigator for the science instruments carried by the rover). Dr. McLennan noted that this was the third area on Mars visited by the Mars rovers that has produced evidence of “habitable” ancient geological environments.

Opportunity was one of two exploration rovers that landed on Mars eight years ago for what was planned as a three-month mission. According to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Opportunity reached Endeavour Crater last August after driving for three years from another Martian crater, Victoria.

Dr. McLennan said Opportunity found highly elevated levels of zinc in some of the rocks at the rim of the crater, suggesting that there was a hydrothermal system – warm water – running through the rocks at one time. In addition, veins of gypsum discovered at the crater were strong evidence that low temperature waters had at one time passed through those rocks.

“If we found this on Earth there would be no question that you could find evidence of life,” said Dr. McLennan, noting that the Rover sent back some “spectacular” photos of the gypsum veins.

The Mars Rover Opportunity has given Stony Brook faculty and graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to collaborate for eight years on scientific study of Mars as part of the Stony Brook Mars rover group, Dr. McLennan said. While Opportunity and its sister Rover Spirit were scheduled to operate for three months, “Everyone felt they had the capability of lasting quite a bit longer, but nobody thought Opportunity would last this long.” NASA selected Dr. McLennan to participate in the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission.

The mission consisted of two rovers that arrived on opposite sides of Mars in 2004. Dr. McLennan has investigated data on Martian rock and surface deposits to gain insight into the ancient climates of that planet and contribute to NASA's overarching strategy of Mars Exploration: "Follow the Water", the search for past life on Mars, understanding past climates and why the climate changed so drastically, and evaluating the planet for human exploration. Opportunity landed in Eagle Crater on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, three weeks after its rover twin, Spirit, landed halfway around the planet. Spirit stopped communicating in March 2010.

Powered by solar panels, Opportunity went into “hibernation” on a sun facing slope at the crater’s rim during the Martian winter due to reduced sunlight. It is scheduled to come out of that hibernation by mid-2012 or earlier if wind cleans dust off its solar panels. According to NASA, researchers plan to drive Opportunity in search of clay minerals that a Mars orbiter's observations indicate lie on Endeavour's rim.

Scott M. McLennan | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.stonybrook.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top
20.04.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht New record on squeezing light to one atom: Atomic Lego guides light below one nanometer
20.04.2018 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>