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The 2004 Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Evidence for Water and Prospects for Life

The 2004 Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Evidence for Water and Prospects for Life

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The 2004 Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Evidence for Water and Prospects for Life

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  1. The 2004 Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Evidence for Water and Prospects for Life # 38 Dr. John Grotzinger October 13, 2005 Produced by and for Hot Science - Cool Talks by the Environmental Science Institute. We request that the use of these materials include an acknowledgement of the presenter and Hot Science - Cool Talks by the Environmental Science Institute at UT Austin. We hope you find these materials educational and enjoyable.

  2. The 2004 Mars ExplorationRover Mission: Evidence for Water andProspects for Life John Grotzingeron behalf of MER Athena Science Team

  3. Mars Science Strategy Mars Science Strategy: Follow the Water! Common Thread LIFE CLIMATE GEOLOGY HUMAN

  4. The Athena Science Payload The Athena Science Payload Remote Sensing Package Pancam Mast Assembly (PMA) Pancam Mini-TES Magnetic Properties Experiment In-Situ Package Instrument Deployment Device (IDD) Microscopic Imager Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer Mössbauer Spectrometer Rock Abrasion Tool

  5. The Team The Team

  6. Mars Pathfinder Mars Pathfinder

  7. The MER Rover

  8. Wrap it up and cram it in…… Wrap it up and cram it in…

  9. The Three Challenging Mission Phases The Three Challenging Mission Phases Launch & Cruise Entry, Descent & Landing Egress & Surface Operations

  10. Video by Dan Mass

  11. Meridiani Gusev Opportunity at Meridiani Planum 2000 km

  12. Hematite: Mineralogic Beacon Hematite Distribution Map from Tes Data 5oN 0 6oS 10oW 0 2oE 0% 15% hematite (Figure based on Christensen et al., (2001) JGR, v. 106(E10), Plate 2, p.23,877.)

  13. Meridiani Landing Site

  14. Hole in One Eagle Crater

  15. Backshell and Parachute Backshell and Parachute

  16. You are here You are here

  17. A Martian Eclipse

  18. Short-Timescale Temperature Excursions 1 Red = hot Purple = cold Red to purple is 2 K (degrees Kelvin) 0.8 0.6 Height Above Surface (km) 0.4 0.2 0 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 Minutes past 1000 hours (sol 12) • Largest temperature variations confined to lowest 100 meters or so • Appears that temperature perturbations propagate upward

  19. Dust Devils Dust Devils

  20. Opportunity: View from Lander Spirit: View from Lander 5 metres 5 metres

  21. The first rock investigated by Opportunity

  22. Schematic representation of the Mössbauer Spectrometer

  23. Mössbauer Spectrum of El Capitan Mössbauer Spectrum of El Capitan: Meridiani Planum Jarosite: (K, Na, X+1)Fe3(SO4) (OH)6

  24. Rio Tinto, Spain Andy Knoll

  25. Spherules Spherules 5 mm

  26. The “Berry Bowl”

  27. Mössbauer on the Berry Bowl

  28. Sediment Bedforms Sediment Bedforms (e.g. Ripples)

  29. Ancient Terrestrial Ripples Ancient Terrestrial Ripples: 1.4 Billion Years Old

  30. Ripple Cross-Bedding in 3-D Ripple Cross-Bedding in 3D

  31. Bedforms in Flowing Water Bedforms in Flowing Water Antidunes 2.0 Upper Plane Beds 1.0 Lower Plane Beds Dunes 0.6 Mean flow velocity (m sec-1) Ripples No Sediment Movement 0.2 V. Fine Sand V. Coarse Sand 0.5 1.0 2.0 0.1 Median grain diameter (mm) Southard and Bouchwal,1990

  32. Current Ripples in Water Current Ripples in Water 6 hours of ripple migration Image is 60x40 cm Flume experiments by Dave Rubin and Jon Nelson, USGS

  33. Current Ripples in Cross Section Simulation by Dave Rubin, USGS

  34. Festoon Cross-Bedding on Earth Festoon Cross-Bedding on Earth

  35. Festoon Cross-Bedding on Mars Festoon Cross-Bedding on Mars

  36. Burns formation Burns formation (Endurance crater) 2.0 m

  37. Burns Stratigraphy 7 Burns Stratigraphy Interdune/Playa Festoon Cross-lamination Wavy Bedding Translatent Strata Lower Unit 6 Whatanga Contact Zone of Recrystallization Capillary Fringe of Water Table? 5 Eolian Sand Sheet Translatent Strata Low-Angle Strata Lower Unit 4 3 Wellington Contact Deflation Surface Water Table Controlled? 2 Eolian Dune Field Cross-Bedded Sandstone Lower Unit 1 m

  38. Modern Sand Dunes on Mars Modern Sand Dunes on Mars ~ 50 cm

  39. Interdune Surface Interdune Surface

  40. Interdune Deflation Surface Interdune Deflation Surface

  41. Modern Mars Analog Modern Mars Analog: Um Asamin

  42. Formation of evaporite salts

  43. Modern Interdune Depression Modern Interdune Depression

  44. Endurance Chemostratigraphy ~ 50 cm

  45. Ratio to surface rock average Depth in crater

  46. Changes Down Section: Texture Ontario Diamond Jenness

  47. Meridiani environment appears to have been acidic, hypersaline, and only intermittently wet. • Life exists at such extremes on Earth. • But Meridiani data suggest potential challenges to origin as well as persistence of life. Rio Tinto Extremophiles Andy Knoll

  48. The Good News • Evidence of any life that might have existed might well be preserved in chemical sediments and concretions. • Chemical and textural details of Meridiani salts and iron oxides likely to reveal much about environmental history. • All this favors Meridiani Planum as a target for sample return. Andy Knoll

  49. Summary • Rovers have: • Operated for over 1200 days • Returned over 100,000 images • Analyzed dozens of rocks and soils

  50. Summary • Evidence for water: • Mössbauer detection of jarosite • Crystal molds, concretions, diagenesis • Festoon ripple cross-bedding • Stratigraphic succession of environments