Overview of the Spirit Mars Exploration Rover Mission to Gusev Crater: Landing site to Backstay Rock in the Columbia Hills

Arvidson, R. E. and Squyres, S. W. and Anderson, R. C. and Bell Iii, J. F. and Blaney, D. and Cabrol, N. A. and Calvin, W. M. and Carr, M. H. and Christensen, P. R. and Clark, B. C. and Crumpler, L. and Des Marais, D. J. and de Souza, P. A. and d'Uston, C. and Economou, T. and Farmer, J. and Farrand, W. H. and Folkner, W. and Golombek, M. P. and Gorevan, S. and Grant, J. A. and Greeley, R. and Grotzinger, J. and Guinness, E. and Hahn, B. C. and Haskin, L. and Herkenhoff, K. E. and Hurowitz, J. A. and Hviid, S. and Johnson, J. R. and KlingelhC6fer, G. and Knoll, A. H. and Landis, G. and Leff, C. and Lemmon, M. and Li, R. and Madsen, M. B. and Malin, M. C. and McLennan, S. M. and McSween, H. Y. and Ming, D. W. and Moersch, J. and Morris, R. V. and Parker, T. and Rice, J. W. and Richter, L. and Rieder, R. and Rodionov, D. S. and SchrC6der, C. and Sims, M. and Smith, M. and Smith, P. and Soderblom, L. A. and Sullivan, R. and Thompson, S. D. and Tosca, N. J. and Wang, A. and Wc$nke, H. and Ward, J. and Wdowiak, T. and Wolff, M. and Yen, A. (2006) Overview of the Spirit Mars Exploration Rover Mission to Gusev Crater: Landing site to Backstay Rock in the Columbia Hills. Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, 111 (2). DOI 10.1029/2005JE002499

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Abstract

Spirit landed on the floor of Gusev Crater and conducted initial operations on soil-covered, rock-strewn cratered plains underlain by olivine-bearing basalts. Plains surface rocks are covered by wind-blown dust and show evidence for surface enrichment of soluble species as vein and void-filling materials and coatings. The surface enrichment is the result of a minor amount of transport and deposition by aqueous processes. Layered granular deposits were discovered in the Columbia Hills, with outcrops that tend to dip conformably with the topography. The granular rocks are interpreted to be volcanic ash and/or impact ejecta deposits that have been modified by aqueous fluids during and/or after emplacement. Soils consist of basaltic deposits that are weakly cohesive, relatively poorly sorted, and covered by a veneer of wind-blown dust. The soils have been homogenized by wind transport over at least the several kilometer length scale traversed by the rover. Mobilization of soluble species has occurred within at least two soil deposits examined. The presence of monolayers of coarse sand on wind-blown bedforms, together with even spacing of granule-sized surface clasts, suggests that some of the soil surfaces encountered by Spirit have not been modified by wind for some time. On the other hand, dust deposits on the surface and rover deck have changed during the course of the mission. Detection of dust devils, monitoring of the dust opacity and lower boundary layer, and coordinated experiments with orbiters provided new insights into atmosphere-surface dynamics. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Volume: 111
Identification Number: 10.1029/2005JE002499
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2009 13:07
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 09:56
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/1232

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