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The Microscopic Imager (MI) on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity 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 Meridiani Planum landing site. Designed to simulate a geologist's hand lens, the MI is mounted on Opportunity's instrument arm and can resolve objects 0.1 mm across or larger. This paper provides an overview of MI operations, data calibration, and analysis of MI data returned during the first 900 sols (Mars days) of the Opportunity landed mission. Analyses of Opportunity MI data have helped to resolve major questions about the origin of observed textures and features. These...
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We investigate the spectral reflectance properties of channels and mountain ranges on Titan using data from Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) obtained during the T9 encounter (26 December 2005). We identify the location of channels and mountains using synthetic aperture radar maps obtained from Cassini's RADAR instrument during the T13 (30 April 2006) flyby. Channels are evident even in VIMS imaging with spatial resolution coarser than the channel size. The channels share spectral characteristics with Titan's dark blue terrain (e.g., the Huygens landing site) that is consistent with an enhancement in water ice content relative to the rest of Titan. We use this fact to measure widths of ???1...
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Excavating into the shallow Martian subsurface has the potential to expose stratigraphic layers and mature regolith, which may hold a record of more ancient aqueous interactions than those expected under current Martian surface conditions. During the Spirit rover's exploration of Gusev crater, rover wheels were used to dig three trenches into the subsurface regolith down to 6-11 cm depth: Road Cut, the Big Hole, and The Boroughs. A high oxidation state of Fe and high concentrations of Mg, S, Cl, and Br were found in the subsurface regolith within the two trenches on the plains, between the Bonneville crater and the foot of Columbia Hills. Data analyses on the basis of geochemistry and mineralogy observations suggest...
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Processes, environments, and the energy associated with the transport and deposition of sand at Gusev Crater are characterized at the microscopic scale through the comparison of statistical moments for particle size and shape distributions. Bivariate and factor analyses define distinct textural groups at 51 sites along the traverse completed by the Spirit rover as it crossed the plains and went into the Columbia Hills. Fine-to-medium sand is ubiquitous in ripples and wind drifts. Most distributions show excess fine material, consistent with a predominance of wind erosion over the last 3.8 billion years. Negative skewness at West Valley is explained by the removal of fine sand during active erosion, or alternatively,...
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We analyzed narrow‐angle Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC‐NA) images to produce high‐resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) in order to provide topographic and slope information needed to assess the safety of candidate landing sites for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) and to assess the accuracy of our results by a variety of tests. The mapping techniques developed also support geoscientific studies and can be used with all present and planned Mars‐orbiting scanner cameras. Photogrammetric analysis of MOC stereopairs yields DEMs with 3‐pixel (typically 10 m) horizontal resolution, vertical precision consistent with ∼0.22 pixel matching errors (typically a few meters), and slope errors of 1–3°. These DEMs are controlled...
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The Cassini imaging science subsystem observed Europa in eclipse during Cassini's Jupiter flyby. The disk-resolved observations revealed a spatially nonuniform emission in the wavelength range of 200-1050 nm (clear filters). By building on observations and simulations of Europa's Na atmosphere and torus we find that electron-excited Na in Europa's tenuous atmosphere can account for the observed emission if the Na is ejected preferentially from Europa's dark terrain. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
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The Mars Crater Morphology Consortium recommends the use of a standardized nomenclature system when discussing Martian impact crater ejecta morphologies. The system utilizes nongenetic descriptors to identify the various ejecta morphologies seen on Mars. This system is designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between researchers. Crater morphology databases will be archived through the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, where a comprehensive catalog of Martian crater morphologic information will be maintained.
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Martian aeolian dunes preserve a record of atmosphere/surface interaction on a variety of scales, serving as ground truth for both Global Climate Models (GCMs) and mesoscale climate models, such as the Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS). We hypothesize that the location of dune fields, expressed globally by geographic distribution and locally by dune centroid azimuth (DCA), may record the long-term integration of atmospheric activity across a broad area, preserving GCM-scale atmospheric trends. In contrast, individual dune morphology, as expressed in slipface orientation (SF), may be more sensitive to localized variations in circulation, preserving topographically controlled mesoscale trends. We test...
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Proctor Crater is a 150 km diameter crater in Noachis Terra, within the southern highlands of Mars. The analysis leading to the sedimentary history incorporates several data sets including imagery, elevation, composition, and thermal inertia, mostly from the Mars Global Surveyor mission. The resulting stratigraphy reveals that the sedimentary history of Proctor Crater has involved a complex interaction of accumulating and eroding sedimentation. Aeolian features spanning much of the history of the crater interior dominate its surface, including large erosional pits, stratified beds of aeolian sediment, sand dunes, erosional and depositional streaks, dust devil tracks, and small bright bed forms that are probably...
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Paleotopographic reconstructions based on a synthesis of published geologic information and high-resolution topography, including topographic profiles, reveal the potential existence of an enormous drainage basin/aquifer system in the eastern part of the Tharsis region during the Noachian Period. Large topographic highs formed the margin of the gigantic drainage basin. Subsequently, lavas, sediments, and volatiles partly infilled the basin, resulting in an enormous and productive regional aquifer. The stacked sequences of water-bearing strata were then deformed locally and, in places, exposed by magmatic-driven uplifts, tectonic deformation, and erosion. This basin model provides a potential source of water necessary...
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Many constitutive laws for the flow of ice have been published since the advent of the Voyager explorations of the outer solar system. Conflicting data have occasionally come from different laboratories, and refinement of experimental techniques has led to the publication of laws that supersede earlier ones. In addition, there are unpublished data from ongoing research that also amend the constitutive laws. Here we compile the most current laboratory-derived flow laws for water ice phases I, II, III, V, and VI, and ice I mixtures with hard particulates. The rheology of interest is mainly that of steady state, and the conditions reviewed are the pressures and temperatures applicable to the surfaces and interiors...
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The Noachian terrain west of the Isidis basin hosts a diverse collection of alteration minerals in rocks comprising varied geomorphic units within a 100,000 km2 region in and near the Nili Fossae. Prior investigations in this region by the Observatoire pour l'Min??ralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces, et l'Activit?? (OMEGA) instrument on Mars Express revealed large exposures of both mafic minerals and iron magnesium phyllosilicates in stratigraphic context. Expanding on the discoveries of OMEGA, the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has found more spatially widespread and mineralogically diverse alteration minerals than previously realized, which represent...
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The Mars Color Imager, or MARCI, experiment on the Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) consists of two cameras with unique optics and identical focal plane assemblies (FPAs), Data Acquisition System (DAS) electronics, and power supplies. Each camera is characterized by small physical size and mass (???6 x 6 x 12 cm, including baffle; <500 g), low power requirements (<2.5 W, including power supply losses), and high science performance (1000 x 1000 pixel, low noise). The Wide Angle (WA) camera will have the capability to map Mars in five visible and two ultraviolet spectral bands at a resolution of better than 8 km/pixel under the worst case downlink data rate. Under better downlink conditions the WA will provide kilometer-scale...
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The Martian fretted terrain between latitudes 30?? and 50?? N and between 315?? and 360?? W has been reexamined in light of new Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data from Mars Global Surveyor. Much of the terrain in the 30??-50?? latitude belt in both hemispheres has a characteristic stippled or pitted texture at MOC (1.5 m) scale. The texture appears to result from partial removal of a formerly smooth, thin deposit as a result of sublimation and deflation. A complex history of deposition and exhumation is indicated by remnants of a former, thicker cover of layered deposits. In some hollows and on some slopes, particularly those facing the pole, are smooth textured deposits outlined...
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A new Mars Global Digital Dune Database (MGD3) constructed using Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) infrared (IR) images provides a comprehensive and quantitative view of the geographic distribution of moderate- to large-size dune fields (area >1 kM2) that will help researchers to understand global climatic and sedimentary processes that have shaped the surface of Mars. MGD3 extends from 65??N to 65??S latitude and includes ???550 dune fields, covering ???70,000 km2, with an estimated total volume of ???3,600 km3. This area, when combined with polar dune estimates, suggests moderate- to large-size dune field coverage on Mars may total ???800,000 km2, ???6 times less than the total areal estimate of ???5,000,000...
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Drainage densities on Mars range from zero over large areas of volcanic plains to 0.3-0.5 km-1 locally on some volcanoes. These values refer to geologic units, not to drainage basins, as is normal for terrestrial drainage densities. The highest values are close to the lowest terrestrial values derived by similar techniques. Drainage densities were determined for every geologic unit portrayed on the 1:15,000,000 geologic map of Mars. Except for volcanoes the geologic unit with the highest drainage density is the dissected Noachian plains with a drainage density of 0.0074 km-1. The average drainage density for Noachian units is 0.0032 km-1, for Hesperian units is 0.00047 km-1, and for Amazonian units is 0.00007 km-1,...
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The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) provided the first global hyperspectral data of the lunar surface in 85 bands from 460 to 2980 nm. The Clementine mission provided the first global multispectral maps the lunar surface in 11 spectral bands across the ultraviolet-visible (UV-VIS) and near-infrared (NIR). In an effort to understand how M3 improves our ability to analyze and interpret lunar data, we compare M3 spectra with those from Clementine's UV-VIS and NIR cameras. The Clementine mission provided the first global multispectral maps the lunar surface in 11 spectral bands across the UV-VIS and NIR. We have found that M3 reflectance values are lower across all wavelengths compared with albedos from both of Clementine's...
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Most of the soil-like materials at the Pathfinder landing site behave like moderately dense soils on Earth with friction angles near 34°-39° and are called cloddy deposits. Cloddy deposits appear to be poorly sorted with dust-sized to granule-sized mineral or rock grains; they may contain pebbles, small rock fragments, and clods. Thin deposits of porous, compressible drifts with friction angles near 26°-28° are also present. Drifts are fine grained. Cohesions of both types of deposits are small. There may be indurated soil-like deposits and/or coated or crusted rocks. Cloddy deposits may be fluvial sediments of the Ares-Tiu floods, but other origins, such as ejecta from nearby impact craters, should be considered....
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The dust in the atmosphere above the Mars Pathfinder landing site produced a bright, red sky that increases in redness toward the horizon at midday. There is also evidence for an absorption band in the scattered light from the sky at 860 nm. A model of the sky brightness has been developed [Markiewicz et al., this issue] and tested against Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) observations of calibration targets on the lander. The resulting model has been used to quantify the total diffuse flux onto a surface parallel to the local level for several solar elevation angles and optical depths. The model shows that the diffuse illumination in shadowed areas is strongly reddened while areas illuminated directly by the Sun...
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The Navigation Camera (Navcam) instruments on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) spacecraft provide support for both tactical operations as well as scientific observations where color information is not necessary: large-scale morphology, atmospheric monitoring including cloud observations and dust devil movies, and context imaging for both the thermal emission spectrometer and the in situ instruments on the Instrument Deployment Device. The Navcams are a panchromatic stereoscopic imaging system built using identical charge-coupled device (CCD) detectors and nearly identical electronics boards as the other cameras on the MER spacecraft. Previous calibration efforts were primarily focused on providing a detailed geometric...