When NASA Mars Program officials and members of the Mars science community gather in California next week to pare down the list of candidate landing sites for the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), they can refer to 125 new images from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). The images and accompanying analysis products are available on the CRISM Web site at http://crism.jhuapl.edu/msl_landing_sites/.
Built and operated by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), CRISM is one of six science instruments on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, currently circling the planet.
"Since MSL will assess whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting life, it will have to land in an area with a mineral record indicative of past water,” says Dr. Scott Murchie, CRISM principal investigator from APL. “CRISM is critical to the selection process because it is the only instrument on MRO with the spectral power to 'see' the chemical makeup of the rocks."One of CRISM’s main mission objectives is to find and investigate areas that were wet long enough to leave a mineral signature. Offering greater capability to map spectral variations than any similar instrument sent to another planet, CRISM can read 544 "colors" of reflected sunlight to detect minerals in the surface.
The CRISM data release consists of user-friendly, color-coded, thematic images. Different versions of each image show clays, sulfates, and unaltered minerals that help tell the story of past water and volcanic processes on Mars. The set also includes infrared images of surface brightness and enhanced visible-color composites. Each image covers a square area roughly 6 miles (10 kilometers) on a side, with a spatial resolution of approximately 66 feet (20 meters) per pixel.
"The data products that we have generated for all the proposed MSL landing sites are scaled in a similar manner. This should make it easy for scientists and the public alike to distinguish between landing sites that possess a wide range of rock types, from ones that do not," says APL's Dr. Olivier Barnouin-Jha, who with Dr. Frank Seelos (also of APL) assembled the products in this release. "Going to a location with greater rock diversity will ensure that MSL significantly enhances our understanding of the geological history of Mars, including the history of water."
CRISM has mapped more than half the planet in its low-resolution mode since MRO’s two-year science mission began in November 2006, in addition to making more than 2,500 high-resolution observations of the surface and nearly 3,000 atmospheric observations.
APL, which has built more than 150 spacecraft instruments over the past four decades, led the effort to develop, integrate, and test CRISM. The CRISM team includes experts from universities, government agencies and small businesses in the United States and abroad; visit http://crism.jhuapl.edu for more information. Information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Science Laboratory missions is available online at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the MRO mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, is the prime contractor and built the MRO spacecraft.
Michael Buckley | EurekAlert!
Electrocatalysis can advance green transition
23.01.2017 | Technical University of Denmark
Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin
23.01.2017 | Ferdinand-Braun-Institut Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering