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Sample records for curiosity mars rover

  1. The Curiosity Mars Rover's Fault Protection Engine

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benowitz, Ed

    2014-01-01

    The Curiosity Rover, currently operating on Mars, contains flight software onboard to autonomously handle aspects of system fault protection. Over 1000 monitors and 39 responses are present in the flight software. Orchestrating these behaviors is the flight software's fault protection engine. In this paper, we discuss the engine's design, responsibilities, and present some lessons learned for future missions.

  2. Mars Rover Curiosity Traverses of Sand Ripples

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stein, N.; Arvidson, R. E.; Zhou, F.; Heverly, M.; Maimone, M.; Hartman, F.; Bellutta, P.; Iagnemma, K.; Senatore, C.

    2014-12-01

    Martian sand ripples present a challenge for rover mobility, with drives over ripples often characterized by high wheel sinkage and slippage that can lead to incipient embedding. Since landing in Gale Crater, Curiosity has traversed multiple sand ripples, including the transverse aeolian ridge (TAR) straddling Dingo Gap on sols 533 and 535. On sol 672, Curiosity crossed backward over a series of sand ripples before ending its drive after high motor currents initiated visual odometry (VO) processing, which detected 77% slip, well in excess of the imposed 60% slip limit. At the end of the drive, the right front wheel was deeply embedded at the base of a ripple flank with >20 cm sinkage and the rear wheels were near a ripple crest. As Curiosity continues its approach to Mount Sharp it will have to cross multiple ripples, and thus it is important to understand Curiosity's performance on sol 672 and over similar ripples. To this end the sol 672 drive was simulated in ARTEMIS (Adams-Based Rover Terramechanics Interaction Simulator), a software tool consisting of realistic rover mechanical models, a wheel-terrain interaction module for deformable and non-deformable surfaces, and realistic terrain models. ARTEMIS results, Dumont Dunes tests performed in the Mojave Desert using the Scarecrow test rover, and single wheel tests performed at MIT indicate that the high slip encountered on sol 672 likely occurred due to a combination of rover attack angle, ripple geometry, and soil properties. When ripple wavelength approaches vehicle length, the rover can reach orientations in which the leading wheels carry minimal normal loads and the trailing wheels sink deeply, resulting in high slippage and insufficient thrust to propel the rover over ripples. Even on relatively benign (i.e. low tilt) terrains, local morphology can impose high sinkage, thus impeding rover motion. Work is underway to quantify Curiosity's drive performance over various ripple geometries to retrieve soil

  3. Mineralogical Results from the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, David Frederick.

    2017-01-01

    NASA's CheMin instrument, the first X-ray Diffractometer flown in space, has been operating on Mars for nearly five years. CheMin was first to establish the quantitative mineralogy of the Mars global soil (1). The instrument was next used to determine the mineralogy of a 3.7 billion year old lacustrine mudstone, a result that, together with findings from other instruments on the MSL Curiosity rover, documented the first habitable environment found on another planet (2). The mineralogy of this mudstone from an ancient playa lake was also used to derive the maximum concentration of CO2 in the early Mars atmosphere, a surprisingly low value that calls into question the current theory that CO2 greenhouse warming was responsible for the warm and wet environment of early Mars. CheMin later identified the mineral tridymite, indicative of silica-rich volcanism, in mudstones of the Murray formation on Mt. Sharp. This discovery challenges the paradigm of Mars as a basaltic planet and ushers in a new chapter of comparative terrestrial planetology (3). CheMin is now being used to systematically sample the sedimentary layers that comprise the lower strata of Mt. Sharp, a 5,000 meter sequence of sedimentary rock laid down in what was once a crater lake, characterizing isochemical sediments that through their changing mineralogy, document the oxidation and drying out of the Mars in early Hesperian time.

  4. Mars' surface radiation environment measured with the Mars science laboratory's curiosity rover

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hassler, D.M.; Zeitlin, C.; Wimmer-Schweingruber, R.F.; Ehresmann, B.; Rafkin, S.; Eigenbrode, J.L.; Brinza, D.E.; Weigle, G.; Böttcher, S.; Böhm, E.; Burmeister, S.; Guo, J.; Köhler, J.; Martin, C.; Reitz, G.; Cucinotta, F.A.; Kim, M.-H.; Grinspoon, D.; Bullock, M.A.; Posner, A.; Gómez-Elvira, J.; Vasavada, A.; Grotzinger, J.P.; MSL Science Team, the

    2014-01-01

    The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) on the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover began making detailed measurements of the cosmic ray and energetic particle radiation environment on the surface of Mars on 7 August 2012. We report and discuss measurements of the absorbed dose and dose equival

  5. Mars' surface radiation environment measured with the Mars science laboratory's curiosity rover

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hassler, D.M.; Zeitlin, C.; Wimmer-Schweingruber, R.F.; Ehresmann, B.; Rafkin, S.; Eigenbrode, J.L.; Brinza, D.E.; Weigle, G.; Böttcher, S.; Böhm, E.; Burmeister, S.; Guo, J.; Köhler, J.; Martin, C.; Reitz, G.; Cucinotta, F.A.; Kim, M.-H.; Grinspoon, D.; Bullock, M.A.; Posner, A.; Gómez-Elvira, J.; Vasavada, A.; Grotzinger, J.P.; MSL Science Team, the

    2014-01-01

    The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) on the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover began making detailed measurements of the cosmic ray and energetic particle radiation environment on the surface of Mars on 7 August 2012. We report and discuss measurements of the absorbed dose and dose equival

  6. Red rover: inside the story of robotic space exploration, from genesis to the mars rover curiosity

    CERN Document Server

    Wiens, Roger

    2013-01-01

    In its eerie likeness to Earth, Mars has long captured our imaginations—both as a destination for humankind and as a possible home to extraterrestrial life. It is our twenty-first century New World; its explorers robots, shipped 350 million miles from Earth to uncover the distant planet’s secrets.Its most recent scout is Curiosity—a one-ton, Jeep-sized nuclear-powered space laboratory—which is now roving the Martian surface to determine whether the red planet has ever been physically capable of supporting life. In Red Rover, geochemist Roger Wiens, the principal investigator for the ChemCam laser instrument on the rover and veteran of numerous robotic NASA missions, tells the unlikely story of his involvement in sending sophisticated hardware into space, culminating in the Curiosity rover's amazing journey to Mars.In so doing, Wiens paints the portrait of one of the most exciting scientific stories of our time: the new era of robotic space exploration. Starting with NASA’s introduction of the Discovery...

  7. Mars' surface radiation environment measured with the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hassler, Donald M; Zeitlin, Cary; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert F; Ehresmann, Bent; Rafkin, Scot; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L; Brinza, David E; Weigle, Gerald; Böttcher, Stephan; Böhm, Eckart; Burmeister, Soenke; Guo, Jingnan; Köhler, Jan; Martin, Cesar; Reitz, Guenther; Cucinotta, Francis A; Kim, Myung-Hee; Grinspoon, David; Bullock, Mark A; Posner, Arik; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Vasavada, Ashwin; Grotzinger, John P

    2014-01-24

    The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) on the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover began making detailed measurements of the cosmic ray and energetic particle radiation environment on the surface of Mars on 7 August 2012. We report and discuss measurements of the absorbed dose and dose equivalent from galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles on the martian surface for ~300 days of observations during the current solar maximum. These measurements provide insight into the radiation hazards associated with a human mission to the surface of Mars and provide an anchor point with which to model the subsurface radiation environment, with implications for microbial survival times of any possible extant or past life, as well as for the preservation of potential organic biosignatures of the ancient martian environment.

  8. Exploration of Mars with the ChemCam LIBS Instrument and the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newsom, Horton E.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012, and has been exploring the planet ever since. Dr. Horton E. Newsom will discuss the MSL's design and main goal, which is to characterize past environments that may have been conducive to the evolution and sustainability of life. He will also discuss Curiosity's science payload, and remote sensing, analytical capabilities, and direct discoveries of the Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) instrument, which is the first Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) to operate on another planetary surface and determine the chemistry of the rocks and soils.

  9. What Can the Curiosity Rover Tell Us About the Climate of Mars?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haberle, Robert M.

    2013-01-01

    What Can the Curiosity Rover Tell Us About the Climate of Mars? Assessing the habitability of Gale Crater is the goal of the Curiosity Rover, which has been gathering data since landing on the Red Planet last August. To meet that goal, Curiosity brought with it a suite of instruments to measure the biological potential of the landing site, the geology and chemistry of its surface, and local environmental conditions. Some of these instruments illuminate the nature of the planet fs atmosphere and climate system, both for present day conditions as well as for conditions that existed billions of years ago. For present day conditions, Curiosity has a standard meteorology package that measures pressure, temperature, winds and humidity, plus a sensor the measures the UV flux. These data confirm what we learned from previous missions namely that today Mars is a cold, dry, and barren desert-like planet. For past conditions, however, wetter and probably warmer conditions are indicated. Curiosities cameras reveal gravel beds that must have formed by flowing rivers, and sedimentary deposits of layered sand and mudstones possibly associated with lakes. An ancient aqueous environment is further supported by the presence of sulfate veins coursing through some of the rocks in Yellowknife Bay where Curiosity is planning its first drilling activity. I will discuss these results and their implications in this lecture.

  10. The Preparation for and Execution of Engineering Operations for the Mars Curiosity Rover Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samuels, Jessica A.

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover mission is the most complex and scientifically packed rover that has ever been operated on the surface of Mars. The preparation leading up to the surface mission involved various tests, contingency planning and integration of plans between various teams and scientists for determining how operation of the spacecraft (s/c) would be facilitated. In addition, a focused set of initial set of health checks needed to be defined and created in order to ensure successful operation of rover subsystems before embarking on a two year science journey. This paper will define the role and responsibilities of the Engineering Operations team, the process involved in preparing the team for rover surface operations, the predefined engineering activities performed during the early portion of the mission, and the evaluation process used for initial and day to day spacecraft operational assessment.

  11. The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) aboard the Mars rover, Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgett, K. S.; Ravine, M. A.; Caplinger, M. A.; Ghaemi, F. T.; Schaffner, J. A.; Malin, M. C.; Baker, J. M.; Dibiase, D. R.; Laramee, J.; Maki, J. N.; Willson, R. G.; Bell, J. F., III; Cameron, J. F.; Dietrich, W. E.; Edwards, L. J.; Hallet, B.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Heydari, E.; Kah, L. C.; Lemmon, M. T.; Minitti, M. E.; Olson, T. S.; Parker, T. J.; Rowland, S. K.; Schieber, J.; Sullivan, R. J.; Sumner, D. Y.; Thomas, P. C.; Yingst, R. A.

    2009-08-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, is expected to land on Mars in 2012. The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) will be used to document martian rocks and regolith with a 2-megapixel RGB color CCD camera with a focusable macro lens mounted on an instrument-bearing turret on the end of Curiosity's robotic arm. The flight MAHLI can focus on targets at working distances of 20.4 mm to infinity. At 20.4 mm, images have a pixel scale of 13.9 μm/pixel. The pixel scale at 66 mm working distance is about the same (31 μm/pixel) as that of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Microscopic Imager (MI). MAHLI camera head placement is dependent on the capabilities of the MSL robotic arm, the design for which presently has a placement uncertainty of ~20 mm in 3 dimensions; hence, acquisition of images at the minimum working distance may be challenging. The MAHLI consists of 3 parts: a camera head, a Digital Electronics Assembly (DEA), and a calibration target. The camera head and DEA are connected by a JPL-provided cable which transmits data, commands, and power. JPL is also providing a contact sensor. The camera head will be mounted on the rover's robotic arm turret, the DEA will be inside the rover body, and the calibration target will be mounted on the robotic arm azimuth motor housing. Camera Head. MAHLI uses a Kodak KAI-2020CM interline transfer CCD (1600 x 1200 active 7.4 μm square pixels with RGB filtered microlenses arranged in a Bayer pattern). The optics consist of a group of 6 fixed lens elements, a movable group of 3 elements, and a fixed sapphire window front element. Undesired near-infrared radiation is blocked using a coating deposited on the inside surface of the sapphire window. The lens is protected by a dust cover with a Lexan window through which imaging can be ac-complished if necessary, and targets can be illuminated by sunlight or two banks of two white light LEDs. Two 365 nm UV LEDs are included to search for fluores-cent materials at night. DEA

  12. The Development of the Chemin Mineralogy Instrument and Its Deployment on Mars (and Latest Results from the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, David F.

    2014-01-01

    The CheMin instrument (short for "Chemistry and Mineralogy") on the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity is one of two "laboratory quality" instruments on board the Curiosity rover that is exploring Gale crater, Mars. CheMin is an X-ray diffractometer that has for the first time returned definitive and fully quantitative mineral identifications of Mars soil and drilled rock. I will describe CheMin's 23-year development from an idea to a spacecraft qualified instrument, and report on some of the discoveries that Curiosity has made since its entry, descent and landing on Aug. 6, 2012, including the discovery and characterization of the first habitable environment on Mars.

  13. Mars Rover Photos API

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This API is designed to collect image data gathered by NASA's Curiosity, Opportunity, and Spirit rovers on Mars and make it more easily available to other...

  14. Determination of spectral parameters for lines targeted by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) on the Mars Curiosity rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manne, Jagadeeshwari; Webster, Christopher R.

    2016-03-01

    Molecular line parameters of line strengths, self- and foreign-broadening by nitrogen, carbon dioxide and helium gas have been experimentally determined for infrared ro-vibrational spectral lines of water and carbon dioxide at 2.78 μm targeted by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover. Good agreement is found by comparison with the line parameters reported in the HITRAN-2012 database.

  15. Biogenic iron mineralization at Iron Mountain, CA with implications for detection with the Mars Curiosity rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Amy J.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Alpers, Charles N.; Campbell, Kate M.; Nordstrom, D. Kirk

    2014-01-01

    (Introduction) Microbe-mineral interactions and biosignature preservation in oxidized sulfidic ore bodies (gossans) are prime candidates for astrobiological study. Such oxidized iron systems have been proposed as analogs for some Martian environments. Recent studies identified microbial fossils preserved as mineral-coated filaments. This study documents microbially-mediated mineral biosignatures in hydrous ferric oxide (HFO) and ferric oxyhydroxysulfates (FOHS) in three environments at Iron Mountain, CA. We investigated microbial community preservation via HFO and FOHS precipitation and the formation of filamentous mineral biosignatures. These environments included 1) actively precipitating (1000's yrs), naturally weathered HFO from in situ gossan, and 3) remobilized iron deposits, which contained lithified clastics and zones of HFO precipitate. We used published biogenicity criteria as guidelines to characterize the biogenicity of mineral filaments. These criteria included A) an actively precipitating environment where microbes are known to be coated in minerals, B) presence of extant microbial communities with carbon signatures, C) structures observable as a part of the host rock, and D) biological morphology, including cellular lumina, multiple member population, numerous taxa, variable and 3-D preservation, biological size ranges, uniform diameter, and evidence of flexibility. This study explores the relevance and detection of these biosignatures to possible Martian biosignatures. Similar filamentous biosignatures are resolvable by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, and may be identifiable as biogenic if present on Mars.

  16. Non-Detection of Methane in the Mars Atmosphere by the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, Chris R.; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Atreya, Sushil K.; Flesch, Gregory J.; Farley, Kenneth A.

    2014-01-01

    By analogy with Earth, methane in the atmosphere of Mars is a potential signature of ongoing or past biological activity on the planet. During the last decade, Earth-based telescopic and Mars orbit remote sensing instruments have reported significant abundances of methane in the Martian atmosphere ranging from several to tens of parts-per-billion by volume (ppbv). Observations from Earth showed plumes of methane with variations on timescales much faster than expected and inconsistent with localized patches seen from orbit, prompting speculation of sources from sub-surface methanogen bacteria, geological water-rock reactions or infall from comets, micro-meteorites or interplanetary dust. From measurements on NASAs Curiosity Rover that landed near Gale Crater on 5th August 2012, we here report no definitive detection of methane in the near-surface Martian atmosphere. Our in situ measurements were made using the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite6 that made three separate searches on Martian sols 79, 81 and 106 after landing. The measured mean value of 0.39 plus or minus 1.4 ppbv corresponds to an upper limit for methane abundance of 2.7 ppbv at the 95 confidence level. This result is in disagreement with both the remote sensing spacecraft observations taken at lower sensitivity and the telescopic observations that relied on subtraction of a very large contribution from terrestrial methane in the intervening observation path. Since the expected lifetime of methane in the Martian atmosphere is hundreds of years, our results question earlier observations and set a low upper limit on the present day abundance, reducing the probability of significant current methanogenic microbial activity on Mars.

  17. A Motor Drive Electronics Assembly for Mars Curiosity Rover: An Example of Assembly Qualification for Extreme Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kolawa, Elizabeth; Chen, Yuan; Mojarradi, Mohammad M.; Weber, Carissa Tudryn; Hunter, Don J.

    2013-01-01

    This paper describes the technology development and infusion of a motor drive electronics assembly for Mars Curiosity Rover under space extreme environments. The technology evaluation and qualification as well as space qualification of the assembly are detailed and summarized. Because of the uncertainty of the technologies operating under the extreme space environments and that a high level reliability was required for this assembly application, both component and assembly board level qualifications were performed.

  18. Preliminary Geological Map of the Peace Vallis Fan Integrated with In Situ Mosaics From the Curiosity Rover, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sumner, D. Y.; Palucis, M.; Dietrich, B.; Calef, F.; Stack, K. M.; Ehlmann, B.; Bridges, J.; Dromart, J.; Eigenbrode, J.; Farmer, J.; Grant, J.; Grotzinger, J.; Hamilton, V.; Hardgrove, C.; Kah, L.; Leveille, R.; Mangold, N.; Rowland, S.; Williams, R.

    2013-01-01

    A geomorphically defined alluvial fan extends from Peace Vallis on the NW wall of Gale Crater, Mars into the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover landing ellipse. Prior to landing, the MSL team mapped the ellipse and surrounding areas, including the Peace Vallis fan. Map relationships suggest that bedded rocks east of the landing site are likely associated with the fan, which led to the decision to send Curiosity east. Curiosity's mast camera (Mastcam) color images are being used to refine local map relationships. Results from regional mapping and the first 100 sols of the mission demonstrate that the area has a rich geological history. Understanding this history will be critical for assessing ancient habitability and potential organic matter preservation at Gale Crater.

  19. First Iron Meteorites Observed By the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, J. R.; Bell, J. F., III; Gasnault, O.; Le Mouelic, S.; Rapin, W.; Bridges, J.; Wellington, D. F.

    2014-12-01

    The MSL rover Curiosity acquired images of two large (>1m) boulders that exhibited surface textures and visible/near-infrared spectra (445-1012nm) consistent with iron meteorites, similar to those observed by the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. The rocks were first observed on Sol 634 from ~110m distance and subsequently imaged on Sol 637 using Mastcam and the Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) on ChemCam. The rock "Lebanon" was observed from ~43m, and the rock "Littleton" from ~63m, revealing lustrous blue-gray color and small surface pits consistent with regmaglypts. On Sol 640, Lebanon (at ~12m distance), a nearby fragment, and Littleton (~36m) were imaged with Mastcam at 3 times of day. This included multispectral images of Lebanon along with a 6-frame RMI mosaic and a single position on Littleton. After a ~1.5 m drive closer to the rocks, additional Mastcam images were obtained prior to departure. At high resolution the surfaces were smooth with mm-scale, intermittent pockmarks. Collections of sand within regmaglypts suggested previous episodes of at least partial burial and exhumation. Mastcam reflectance spectra were red-sloped, with variations specular reflections, similar to laboratory spectra of iron meteorites (and MER spectra of similar rocks). The rocks did not exhibit the cavernous weathering or purple-hued, patchy coatings associated with meteorites observed by MER. The lack of such physio-chemical weathering may be consistent with the less acidic environments postulated for Gale Crater rocks. The close proximity of these rocks suggests they were part of the same fall. The lack of an associated impact crater suggests the event was either unable to create an impact crater (e.g., low angle entry through a thicker atmosphere), or the rocks survived after erosion of associated impact structure(s). Iron meteorites such as these may therefore provide "witness plates" to processes and environments experienced in this region since their arrival.

  20. Chromatographic, Spectroscopic and Mass Spectrometric Approaches for Exploring the Habitability of Mars in 2012 and Beyond with the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul

    2012-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments on the Curiosity Rover of Mars Science Laboratory Mission is designed to provide chemical and isotopic analysis of organic and inorganic volatiles for both atmospheric and solid samples. The goals of the science investigation enabled by the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer and tunable laser spectrometer instruments of SAM are to work together with the other MSL investigations is to quantitatively assess habitability through a series of chemical and geological measurements. We describe the multi-column gas chromatograph system employed on SAM and the approach to extraction and analysis of organic compounds that might be preserved in ancient martian rocks.

  1. Bringing a Chemical Laboratory Named Sam to Mars on the 2011 Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, P. R.; Bleacher, L.; Jones, A.; Conrad, P. G.; Cabane, M.; Webster, C. R.; Atreya, S. A.; Manning, H.

    2010-01-01

    An important goal of upcoming missions to Mars is to understand if life could have developed there. The task of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments [1] and the other Curiosity investigations [2] is to move us steadily toward that goal with an assessment of the habitability of our neighboring planet through a series of chemical and geological measurements. SAM is designed to search for organic compounds and inorganic volatiles and measure isotope ratios. Other instruments on Curiosity will provide elemental analysis and identify minerals. SAM will analyze both atmospheric samples and gases evolved from powdered rocks that may have formed billions of years ago with Curiosity providing access to interesting sites scouted by orbiting cameras and spectrometers.

  2. Measurements on High-Silica Features using the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons Instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hardgrove, C. J.; Gabriel, T. S. J.

    2016-12-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has traversed over several plateaus of the Stimson formation, composed of mafic aeolian sandstones which overlie the Murray formation. These dark sedimentary rocks exhibit lighter colored fluid-alteration halo-forming features. Throughout the Naukluft Plateau region, these halo features are exposed at the surface, extend laterally for tens of meters and are about 1 meter wide. The halos were investigated extensively by Curiosity's geochemical instruments (APXS, Chemin, Chemcam and SAM). With respect to the host Stimson rocks, these fracture halos were found to be significantly enriched in silica and low in iron, among other geochemical variations. Hydrogen, chlorine, and iron have significant neutron microscopic scattering and absorption cross sections. Significant changes in the local abundances of these elements will change the timing and magnitude of the thermal and epithermal neutron count rates observed by the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument. On Sols 1316 to 1329 we performed dedicated measurements on these features with Curiosity by orienting the rover such that DAN was directly over the fracture halos. These fracture halos were also investigated by Curiosity's other geochemical instruments, and co-located DAN measurements were acquired to help constrain abundances of these elements at decimeter-scale depths. Using the bulk geochemistry for both the altered and unaltered Stimson formation, we model a variety of hydrogen contents and burial depths for the altered and unaltered Stimson formation within the approximately 3 meter diameter DAN instrument field of view. Measurements of chemical abundances from both the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer and the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite on targets "Lubango" and "Okoruso" provide necessary constraints on these models. Using simulations of neutron scattering we then outline the abundances of hydrogen, chlorine, and iron at depth at the

  3. The Chemcam LIBS and Imaging Instrument Suite on the Curiosity Mars Rover, and Terrestrial Field Testing of LIBS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiens, R. C.; Clegg, S. M.; Barefield, J. E., II; Maurice, S.

    2014-12-01

    The Curiosity rover that landed on Mars in 2012 includes an instrument suite consisting of a laser-induced breakdown spectrometer (LIBS) and a remote micro-imager (RMI). The LIBS is effectively the first Mars microprobe, as its interrogation region is 0.35-0.5 mm in diameter; it can access targets up to 7 m from the rover. The LIBS pulsed laser excites atoms and ions from the target, creating a plasma that emits light at characteristic wavelengths. When calibrated, LIBS provides quantitative elemental abundances. The elements observed on Mars include H, Li, O, F, Na, Mg, Al, Si, S, Cl, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe, Zn, Rb, Sr, Ba. The first few laser shots clear the surface of dust, allowing unobscured analyses of the targets. Within the first two years of operation ChemCam has returned > 150,000 spectra from > 4,000 locations along the rover traverse. The RMI is the highest resolution (0.04 mrad) remote imager on the rover and provides context before/after images of the LIBS targets as well as long-distance stand-alone imagery. The ChemCam LIBS instrument concept was developed based on laboratory LIBS instrumentation. For terrestrial field work ChemCam's design with its unshielded laser beam is an eye safety hazard. However, hand-held devices with closed laser-beam designs have been developed. In order to provide a realistic field test prior to the launch of the rover the ChemCam team fielded a backpack LIBS system featuring a shielded laser beam. The system was calibrated using the same 66 geological standards used by the ChemCam instrument prior to flight. During the field test, data was sent remotely to a team back at Los Alamos, effectively imitating operations on Mars and data analysis on the ground. The ground team successfully reported accurate results, identifying the site as rich in kaolinite clay soils.

  4. Abundance and Isotopic Composition of Gases in the Martian Atmosphere: First Results from the Mars Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul; Webster, Chris R.; Atreya, Sushil K.; Franz, Heather; Wong, Michael; Conrad, Pamela G.; Harpold, Dan; Jones, John J.; Leshin, Laurie, A.; Manning, Heidi; Owen, Tobias; Pepin, Robert O.; Squyres, Steven; Trainer, Melissa

    2013-01-01

    Repeated measurements of the composition of the Mars atmosphere from Curiosity Rover yield a (40)Ar/N2 ratio 1.7 times greater and the (40)Ar/(36)Ar ratio 1.6 times smaller than the Viking Lander values in 1976. The unexpected change in (40)Ar/N2 ratio probably results from different instrument characteristics although we cannot yet rule out some unknown atmospheric process. The new (40)Ar/(36)Ar ratio is more aligned with Martian meteoritic values. Besides Ar and N2 the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite on the Curiosity Rover has measured the other principal components of the atmosphere and the isotopes. The resulting volume mixing ratios are: CO2 0.960(+/- 0.007); (40)Ar 0.0193(+/- 0.0001); N2 0.0189(+/- 0.0003); O2 1.45(+/- 0.09) x 10(exp -3); and CO 5.45(+/- 3.62) x 10(exp 4); and the isotopes (40)Ar/(36)Ar 1.9(+/- 0.3) x 10(exp 3), and delta (13)C and delta (18)O from CO2 that are both several tens of per mil more positive than the terrestrial averages. Heavy isotope enrichments support the hypothesis of large atmospheric loss. Moreover, the data are consistent with values measured in Martian meteorites, providing additional strong support for a Martian origin for these rocks.

  5. Bringing a Chemical Laboratory Named Sam to Mars on the 2011 Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, P. R.; Bleacher, L.; Jones, A.; Atreya, S. K.; Manning, H. L.; Cabane, M.; Webster, C. R.; Sam Team

    2010-12-01

    Introduction: An important goal of upcoming missions to Mars is to understand if life could have developed there. The task of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments [1] and the other Curiosity investigations [2] is to move us steadily toward that goal with an assessment of the habitability of our neighboring planet through a series of chemical and geological measurements. SAM is designed to search for organic compounds and inorganic volatiles and measure isotope ratios. Other instruments on Curiosity will provide elemental analysis and identify minerals. SAM will analyze both atmospheric samples and gases evolved from powdered rocks that may have formed billions of years ago with Curiosity providing access to interesting sites scouted by orbiting cameras and spectrometers. SAM Instrument Suite: SAM’s instruments are a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (QMS), a 6-column Gas Chromatograph (GC), and a 2-channel Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS). SAM can identify organic compounds in Mars rocks to sub-ppb sensitivity and secure precise isotope ratios for C, H, and O in carbon dioxide and water and measure trace levels of methane and its carbon 13 isotope. The SAM gas processing system consists of valves, heaters, pressure sensors, gas scrubbers and getters, traps, and gas tanks used for calibration or combustion experiments [2]. A variety of calibrant compounds interior and exterior to SAM will allow the science and engineering teams to assess SAM’s performance. SAM has been calibrated and tested in a Mars-like environment. Keeping Educators and the Public Informed: The Education and Public Outreach (EPO) goals of the SAM team are to make this complex chemical laboratory and its data widely available to educators, students, and the public. Formal education activities include developing templates for professional development workshops for educators to teach them about SAM and Curiosity, incorporating data into Mars Student Data Teams, and writing articles

  6. Updates from the MSL-RAD Experiment on the Mars Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeitlin, Cary

    2015-01-01

    The MSL-RAD instrument continues to operate flawlessly on Mars. As of this writing, some 1040 sols (Martian days) of data have been successfully acquired. Several improvements have been made to the instrument's configuration, particularly aimed at enabling the analysis of neutral-particle data. The dose rate since MSL's landing in August 2012 has remained remarkably stable, reflecting the unusual and very weak solar maximum of Cycle 24. Only a few small SEP events have been observed by RAD, which is shielded by the Martian atmosphere. Gale Crater, where Curiosity landed, is 4.4 km below the mean surface of Mars, and the column depth of atmosphere above is approximately 20 g/sq cm, which provides significant attenuation of GCR heavy ions and SEPs. Recent analysis results will be presented, including updated estimates of the neutron contributions to dose and dose equivalent in cruise and on the surface of Mars.

  7. Determination of foreign broadening coefficients for Methane Lines Targeted by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) on the Mars Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manne, Jagadeeshwari; Bui, Thinh Q.; Webster, Christopher R.

    2017-04-01

    Molecular line parameters of foreign- broadening by air, carbon dioxide, and helium gas have been experimentally determined for infrared ro-vibrational spectral lines of methane isotopologues (12CH4 and 13CH4) at 3057 cm-1 targeted by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover. From multi-spectrum analyses with the speed-dependent Voigt line profile with Rosenkrantz line-mixing, speed-dependence and line-mixing effects were quantified for methane spectra at total pressures up to 200 mbar. The fitted air-broadening coefficients deviated from 8-25% to those reported in the HITRAN-2012 database.

  8. Evidence for indigenous nitrogen in sedimentary and aeolian deposits from the Curiosity rover investigations at Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, Jennifer C.; Sutter, Brad; Freissinet, Caroline; Navarro-González, Rafael; McKay, Christopher P.; Archer, P. Douglas; Buch, Arnaud; Brunner, Anna E.; Coll, Patrice; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Fairen, Alberto G.; Franz, Heather B.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Kashyap, Srishti; McAdam, Amy C.; Ming, Douglas W.; Steele, Andrew; Szopa, Cyril; Wray, James J.; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Zorzano, Maria-Paz; Conrad, Pamela G.; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Kemppinen, Osku; Bridges, Nathan; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Minitti, Michelle; Cremers, David; Bell, James F.; Edgar, Lauren; Farmer, Jack; Godber, Austin; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Wellington, Danika; McEwan, Ian; Newman, Claire; Richardson, Mark; Charpentier, Antoine; Peret, Laurent; King, Penelope; Blank, Jennifer; Weigle, Gerald; Schmidt, Mariek; Li, Shuai; Milliken, Ralph; Robertson, Kevin; Sun, Vivian; Baker, Michael; Edwards, Christopher; Ehlmann, Bethany; Farley, Kenneth; Griffes, Jennifer; Grotzinger, John; Miller, Hayden; Newcombe, Megan; Pilorget, Cedric; Rice, Melissa; Siebach, Kirsten; Stack, Katie; Stolper, Edward; Brunet, Claude; Hipkin, Victoria; Léveillé, Richard; Marchand, Geneviève; Sánchez, Pablo Sobrón; Favot, Laurent; Cody, George; Steele, Andrew; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Lees, David; Nefian, Ara; Martin, Mildred; Gailhanou, Marc; Westall, Frances; Israël, Guy; Agard, Christophe; Baroukh, Julien; Donny, Christophe; Gaboriaud, Alain; Guillemot, Philippe; Lafaille, Vivian; Lorigny, Eric; Paillet, Alexis; Pérez, René; Saccoccio, Muriel; Yana, Charles; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Hettrich, Sebastian; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Jiménez, Mercedes Marín; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; - Torres, F. Javier Martín; Jurado, Antonio Molina; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Caro, Guillermo Muñoz; López, Sara Navarro; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pla-García, Jorge; Manfredi, José Antonio Rodriguez; Romeral-Planelló, Julio José; Fuentes, Sara Alejandra Sans; Martinez, Eduardo Sebastian; Redondo, Josefina Torres; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Mier, María-Paz Zorzano; Chipera, Steve; Lacour, Jean-Luc; Mauchien, Patrick; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Manning, Heidi; Fairén, Alberto; Hayes, Alexander; Joseph, Jonathan; Squyres, Steven; Sullivan, Robert; Thomas, Peter; Dupont, Audrey; Lundberg, Angela; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; DeMarines, Julia; Grinspoon, David; Reitz, Günther; Prats, Benito; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Genzer, Maria; Harri, Ari-Matti; Haukka, Harri; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kauhanen, Janne; Kemppinen, Osku; Paton, Mark; Polkko, Jouni; Schmidt, Walter; Siili, Tero; Fabre, Cécile; Wray, James; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Poitrasson, Franck; Patel, Kiran; Gorevan, Stephen; Indyk, Stephen; Paulsen, Gale; Gupta, Sanjeev; Bish, David; Schieber, Juergen; Gondet, Brigitte; Langevin, Yves; Geffroy, Claude; Baratoux, David; Berger, Gilles; Cros, Alain; d’Uston, Claude; Forni, Olivier; Gasnault, Olivier; Lasue, Jérémie; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Maurice, Sylvestre; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Pallier, Etienne; Parot, Yann; Pinet, Patrick; Schröder, Susanne; Toplis, Mike; Lewin, Éric; Brunner, Will; Heydari, Ezat; Achilles, Cherie; Oehler, Dorothy; Sutter, Brad; Cabane, Michel; Coscia, David; Israël, Guy; Szopa, Cyril; Dromart, Gilles; Robert, François; Sautter, Violaine; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Mangold, Nicolas; Nachon, Marion; Buch, Arnaud; Stalport, Fabien; Coll, Patrice; François, Pascaline; Raulin, François; Teinturier, Samuel; Cameron, James; Clegg, Sam; Cousin, Agnès; DeLapp, Dorothea; Dingler, Robert; Jackson, Ryan Steele; Johnstone, Stephen; Lanza, Nina; Little, Cynthia; Nelson, Tony; Wiens, Roger C.; Williams, Richard B.; Jones, Andrea; Kirkland, Laurel; Treiman, Allan; Baker, Burt; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Davis, Scott; Duston, Brian; Edgett, Kenneth; Fay, Donald; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Herrera, Paul; Jensen, Elsa; Kennedy, Megan R.; Krezoski, Gillian; Krysak, Daniel; Lipkaman, Leslie; Malin, Michael; McCartney, Elaina; McNair, Sean; Nixon, Brian; Posiolova, Liliya; Ravine, Michael; Salamon, Andrew; Saper, Lee; Stoiber, Kevin; Supulver, Kimberley; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; Zimdar, Robert; French, Katherine Louise; Iagnemma, Karl; Miller, Kristen; Summons, Roger; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Hviid, Stubbe; Johnson, Micah; Lefavor, Matthew; Lyness, Eric; Breves, Elly; Dyar, M. Darby; Fassett, Caleb; Blake, David F.; Bristow, Thomas; DesMarais, David; Edwards, Laurence; Haberle, Robert; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Kahre, Melinda; Keely, Leslie; McKay, Christopher; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Bleacher, Lora; Brinckerhoff, William; Choi, David; Conrad, Pamela; Dworkin, Jason P.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Floyd, Melissa; Freissinet, Caroline; Garvin, James; Glavin, Daniel; Harpold, Daniel; Jones, Andrea; Mahaffy, Paul; Martin, David K.; McAdam, Amy; Pavlov, Alexander; Raaen, Eric; Smith, Michael D.; Stern, Jennifer; Tan, Florence; Trainer, Melissa; Meyer, Michael; Posner, Arik; Voytek, Mary; Anderson, Robert C; Aubrey, Andrew; Beegle, Luther W.; Behar, Alberto; Blaney, Diana; Brinza, David; Calef, Fred; Christensen, Lance; Crisp, Joy A.; DeFlores, Lauren; Ehlmann, Bethany; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Flesch, Gregory; Hurowitz, Joel; Jun, Insoo; Keymeulen, Didier; Maki, Justin; Mischna, Michael; Morookian, John Michael; Parker, Timothy; Pavri, Betina; Schoppers, Marcel; Sengstacken, Aaron; Simmonds, John J.; Spanovich, Nicole; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Webster, Christopher R.; Yen, Albert; Archer, Paul Douglas; Cucinotta, Francis; Jones, John H.; Ming, Douglas; Morris, Richard V.; Niles, Paul; Rampe, Elizabeth; Nolan, Thomas; Fisk, Martin; Radziemski, Leon; Barraclough, Bruce; Bender, Steve; Berman, Daniel; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Tokar, Robert; Vaniman, David; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Yingst, Aileen; Lewis, Kevin; Leshin, Laurie; Cleghorn, Timothy; Huntress, Wesley; Manhès, Gérard; Hudgins, Judy; Olson, Timothy; Stewart, Noel; Sarrazin, Philippe; Grant, John; Vicenzi, Edward; Wilson, Sharon A.; Bullock, Mark; Ehresmann, Bent; Hamilton, Victoria; Hassler, Donald; Peterson, Joseph; Rafkin, Scot; Zeitlin, Cary; Fedosov, Fedor; Golovin, Dmitry; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kozyrev, Alexander; Litvak, Maxim; Malakhov, Alexey; Mitrofanov, Igor; Mokrousov, Maxim; Nikiforov, Sergey; Prokhorov, Vasily; Sanin, Anton; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Varenikov, Alexey; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Clark, Benton; Wolff, Michael; McLennan, Scott; Botta, Oliver; Drake, Darrell; Bean, Keri; Lemmon, Mark; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Anderson, Ryan B.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth; Lee, Ella Mae; Sucharski, Robert; Hernández, Miguel Ángel de Pablo; Ávalos, Juan José Blanco; Ramos, Miguel; Kim, Myung-Hee; Malespin, Charles; Plante, Ianik; Muller, Jan-Peter; Navarro-González, Rafael; Ewing, Ryan; Boynton, William; Downs, Robert; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Harshman, Karl; Morrison, Shaunna; Dietrich, William; Kortmann, Onno; Palucis, Marisa; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Williams, Amy; Lugmair, Günter; Wilson, Michael A.; Rubin, David; Jakosky, Bruce; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Frydenvang, Jens; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Kinch, Kjartan; Koefoed, Asmus; Madsen, Morten Bo; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Boyd, Nick; Campbell, John L.; Gellert, Ralf; Perrett, Glynis; Pradler, Irina; VanBommel, Scott; Jacob, Samantha; Owen, Tobias; Rowland, Scott; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Savijärvi, Hannu; Boehm, Eckart; Böttcher, Stephan; Burmeister, Sönke; Guo, Jingnan; Köhler, Jan; García, César Martín; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Bridges, John C.; McConnochie, Timothy; Benna, Mehdi; Franz, Heather; Bower, Hannah; Brunner, Anna; Blau, Hannah; Boucher, Thomas; Carmosino, Marco; Atreya, Sushil; Elliott, Harvey; Halleaux, Douglas; Rennó, Nilton; Wong, Michael; Pepin, Robert; Elliott, Beverley; Spray, John; Thompson, Lucy; Gordon, Suzanne; Newsom, Horton; Ollila, Ann; Williams, Joshua; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Bentz, Jennifer; Nealson, Kenneth; Popa, Radu; Kah, Linda C.; Moersch, Jeffrey; Tate, Christopher; Day, Mackenzie; Kocurek, Gary; Hallet, Bernard; Sletten, Ronald; Francis, Raymond; McCullough, Emily; Cloutis, Ed; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Arvidson, Raymond; Fraeman, Abigail; Scholes, Daniel; Slavney, Susan; Stein, Thomas; Ward, Jennifer; Berger, Jeffrey; Moores, John E.

    2015-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has detected oxidized nitrogen-bearing compounds during pyrolysis of scooped aeolian sediments and drilled sedimentary deposits within Gale crater. Total N concentrations ranged from 20 to 250 nmol N per sample. After subtraction of known N sources in SAM, our results support the equivalent of 110–300 ppm of nitrate in the Rocknest (RN) aeolian samples, and 70–260 and 330–1,100 ppm nitrate in John Klein (JK) and Cumberland (CB) mudstone deposits, respectively. Discovery of indigenous martian nitrogen in Mars surface materials has important implications for habitability and, specifically, for the potential evolution of a nitrogen cycle at some point in martian history. The detection of nitrate in both wind-drifted fines (RN) and in mudstone (JK, CB) is likely a result of N2 fixation to nitrate generated by thermal shock from impact or volcanic plume lightning on ancient Mars. Fixed nitrogen could have facilitated the development of a primitive nitrogen cycle on the surface of ancient Mars, potentially providing a biochemically accessible source of nitrogen. PMID:25831544

  9. Chemical variations in Yellowknife Bay formation sedimentary rocks analyzed by ChemCam on board the Curiosity rover on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangold, N.; Forni, O.; Dromart, G.; Stack, K.; Wiens, R. C.; Gasnault, O.; Sumner, D. Y.; Nachon, M.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Anderson, R. B.; Barrachough, B.; Bell, J. F., III; Berger, G.; Blaney, D. L.; Bridges, J. C.; Calef, F.; Clark, B.; Clegg, S. M.; Cousin, A.; Edgar, L.; Edgett, K.; Ehlmann, B.; Fabre, C.; Fisk, M.; Grotzinger, J.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Hurowitz, J.; Johnson, J. R.; Kah, L. C.; Lanza, N.; Lasue, J.; Le Mouélic, S.; Léveillé, R.; Lewin, E.; Malin, N.; McLennan, S.; Maurice, S.; Melikechi, N.; Mezzacappa, A.; Milliken, R.; Newsom, H.; Allila, A.; Rowland, S. K.; Sautter, V.; Schmidt, M.; Schröder, S.; d'Uston, C.; Vaniman, D.; Williams, R.

    2015-03-01

    The Yellowknife Bay formation represents a ~5 m thick stratigraphic section of lithified fluvial and lacustrine sediments analyzed by the Curiosity rover in Gale crater, Mars. Previous works have mainly focused on the mudstones that were drilled by the rover at two locations. The present study focuses on the sedimentary rocks stratigraphically above the mudstones by studying their chemical variations in parallel with rock textures. Results show that differences in composition correlate with textures and both manifest subtle but significant variations through the stratigraphic column. Though the chemistry of the sediments does not vary much in the lower part of the stratigraphy, the variations in alkali elements indicate variations in the source material and/or physical sorting, as shown by the identification of alkali feldspars. The sandstones contain similar relative proportions of hydrogen to the mudstones below, suggesting the presence of hydrous minerals that may have contributed to their cementation. Slight variations in magnesium correlate with changes in textures suggesting that diagenesis through cementation and dissolution modified the initial rock composition and texture simultaneously. The upper part of the stratigraphy (~1 m thick) displays rocks with different compositions suggesting a strong change in the depositional system. The presence of float rocks with similar compositions found along the rover traverse suggests that some of these outcrops extend further away in the nearby hummocky plains.

  10. Chemical variations in Yellowknife Bay formation sedimentary rocks analyzed by ChemCam on board the Curiosity rover on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangold, Nicolas; Forni, Olivier; Dromart, G.; Stack, K.M.; Wiens, Roger C.; Gasnault, Olivier; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Nachon, Marion; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Anderson, Ryan B.; Barraclough, Bruce; Bell, J.F.; Berger, G.; Blaney, D.L.; Bridges, J.C.; Calef, F.; Clark, Brian R.; Clegg, Samuel M.; Cousin, Agnes; Edgar, L.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Fabre, Cecile; Fisk, M.; Grotzinger, John P.; Gupta, S.C.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Johnson, J. R.; Kah, Linda C.; Lanza, Nina L.; Lasue, Jeremie; Le Mouélic, S.; Lewin, Eric; Malin, Michael; McLennan, Scott M.; Maurice, S.; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Milliken, Ralph E.; Newsome, H.L.; Ollila, A.; Rowland, Scott K.; Sautter, Violaine; Schmidt, M.E.; Schroder, S.; D'Uston, C.; Vaniman, Dave; Williams, R.A.

    2015-01-01

    The Yellowknife Bay formation represents a ~5 m thick stratigraphic section of lithified fluvial and lacustrine sediments analyzed by the Curiosity rover in Gale crater, Mars. Previous works have mainly focused on the mudstones that were drilled by the rover at two locations. The present study focuses on the sedimentary rocks stratigraphically above the mudstones by studying their chemical variations in parallel with rock textures. Results show that differences in composition correlate with textures and both manifest subtle but significant variations through the stratigraphic column. Though the chemistry of the sediments does not vary much in the lower part of the stratigraphy, the variations in alkali elements indicate variations in the source material and/or physical sorting, as shown by the identification of alkali feldspars. The sandstones contain similar relative proportions of hydrogen to the mudstones below, suggesting the presence of hydrous minerals that may have contributed to their cementation. Slight variations in magnesium correlate with changes in textures suggesting that diagenesis through cementation and dissolution modified the initial rock composition and texture simultaneously. The upper part of the stratigraphy (~1 m thick) displays rocks with different compositions suggesting a strong change in the depositional system. The presence of float rocks with similar compositions found along the rover traverse suggests that some of these outcrops extend further away in the nearby hummocky plains.

  11. Performance of the Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop Rover Heat Rejection System Used for Thermal Control of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover on the Surface of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhandari, Pradeep; Birur, Gajanana; Bame, David; Mastropietro, A. J.; Miller, Jennifer; Karlmann, Paul; Liu, Yuanming; Anderson, Kevin

    2013-01-01

    The challenging range of landing sites for which the Mars Science Laboratory Rover was designed, required a rover thermal management system that is capable of keeping temperatures controlled across a wide variety of environmental conditions. On the Martian surface where temperatures can be as cold as -123 C and as warm as 38 C, the Rover relies upon a Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop (MPFL) Rover Heat Rejection System (RHRS) and external radiators to maintain the temperature of sensitive electronics and science instruments within a -40 C to +50 C range. The RHRS harnesses some of the waste heat generated from the Rover power source, known as the Multi Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), for use as survival heat for the rover during cold conditions. The MMRTG produces 110 Watts of electrical power while generating waste heat equivalent to approximately 2000 Watts. Heat exchanger plates (hot plates) positioned close to the MMRTG pick up this survival heat from it by radiative heat transfer and supply it to the rover. This design is the first instance of use of a RHRS for thermal control of a rover or lander on the surface of a planet. After an extremely successful landing on Mars (August 5), the rover and the RHRS have performed flawlessly for close to an earth year (half the nominal mission life). This paper will share the performance of the RHRS on the Martian surface as well as compare it to its predictions.

  12. Curiosity rover LEGO® version could land soon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    2012-09-01

    Now that NASA's Curiosity rover has landed on Mars, a smaller LEGO® plastic brick construction version could be landing in toy stores. Less than 2 weeks after Curiosity set down on 5 August, a LEGO® set concept model designed by a mechanical and aerospace engineer who worked on the real rover garnered its 10,000th supporter on the Web site of CUUSOO, a Japanese partner of the LEGO® group. That milestone triggered a company review that began in September 2012 to test the model's “playability, safety, and ft with the LEGO® brand,” according to a congratulatory statement from the company to designer Stephen Pakbaz. Pakbaz told Eos that he has been an avid LEGO® and space exploration fan for most of his life. “For me, creating a LEGO® model of Curiosity using my firsthand knowledge of the rover was inevitable. What I enjoyed most was being able to faithfully replicate and subsequently demonstrate the rocker-bogie suspension system to friends, family, and coworkers,” he noted, referring to the suspension system that allows the rover to climb over obstacles while keeping its wheels on the ground. Pakbaz, who is currently with Orbital Sciences Corporation, was involved with aspects of the rover while working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 2007 to 2011 as a mechanical engineer.

  13. The Combustion Experiment on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite on the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, J. C.; Malespin, C. A.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Graham, H. V.; Archer, P. D., Jr.; Brunner, A. E.; Freissinet, C.; Franz, H. B.; Fuentes, J.; Glavin, D. P.; hide

    2014-01-01

    The combustion experiment on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite on Curiosity will heat a sample of Mars regolith in the presence of oxygen and measure composition of the evolved gases using quadrupole mass spectrometry (QMS) and tunable laser spectrometry (TLS). QMS will enable detection of combustion products such as CO, CO2, NO, and other oxidized species, while TLS will enable precise measurements of the abundance and carbon isotopic composition (delta(sup 13)C) of the evolved CO2 and hydrogen isotopic composition (deltaD) of H2O. SAM will perform a two-step combustion to isolate combustible materials below approx.550 C and above approx.550 C. The combustion experiment on SAM, if properly designed and executed, has the potential to answer multiple questions regarding the origins of volatiles seen thus far in SAM evolved gas analysis (EGA) on Mars. Constraints imposed by SAM and MSL time and power resources, as well as SAM consumables (oxygen gas), will limit the number of SAM combustion experiments, so it is imperative to design an experiment targeting the most pressing science questions. Low temperature combustion experiments will primarily target the quantification of carbon (and nitrogen) contributed by SAM wet chemistry reagants MTBSTFA (N-Methyl-N-tert-butyldimethylsilyltrifluoroacetamide) and DMF (Dimethylformamide), which have been identified in the background of blank and sample runs and may adsorb to the sample while the cup is in the Sample Manipulation System (SMS). In addition, differences between the sample and "blank" may yield information regarding abundance and delta(sup 13)C of bulk (both organic and inorganic) martian carbon. High temperature combustion experiments primarily aim to detect refractory organic matter, if present in Cumberland fines, as well as address the question of quantification and deltaD value of water evolution associated with hydroxyl hydrogen in clay minerals.

  14. 好奇心号巡视器及其特点分析%Mars Curiosity Rover and Its Characteristics

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    岳宗玉; 邸凯昌

    2012-01-01

    “火星科学实验室”(Mars Science Laboratory,MSL)是NASA于2011年11月26日发射的火星探测器,其上的好奇心号(Curiosity)巡视器已经于2012年8月6日着陆火星;其主要科学目标包括研究火星存在生命的可能性、火星气候特征、火星地质过程,并为将来的载人着陆作准备;经过多次论证,其着陆区为盖尔撞击坑(Gale Crater)。与过去的火星巡视器相比,它携带了更加先进的科学仪器,能够精确分析采集样品的化学成分、光谱特征等;在科学工作小组的指导下,其运行模式包括行走、勘查、接近目标、接触目标与样品分析;通过上述工作,“火星科学实验室”将对火星生命及可居住性进行全面探测。%Mars Science Laboratory (MSL or Curiosity) is the Mars rover launched by NASA on November 26, 2011 and landed Mars on August 6, 2012. The principal scientific goals include studying the probability of the existence of life on Mars, the characteristics of Mars climate, the geological processes related with the habitability, and the preparation for future manned mis- sions. Gale crater is selected as the landing site after extensive studies and comparisons. Com- pared with the past Mars rovers, MSL carries much more advanced scientific payloads, which enable more accurate analysis of the collected samples; composition and spectrum, etc. The operation modes include traverse, reconnaissance, approaching and contacting targets, and sample analysis. Through surface operation and investigation, MSL wilt comprehensively explore the possible existence of life and habitability of Mars.

  15. NASA Mars Science Laboratory Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olson, Tim

    2017-01-01

    Since August 2012, the NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity has been operating on the Martian surface. The primary goal of the MSL mission is to assess whether Mars ever had an environment suitable for life. MSL Science Team member Dr. Tim Olson will provide an overview of the rover's capabilities and the major findings from the mission so far. He will also share some of his experiences of what it is like to operate Curiosity's science cameras and explore Mars as part of a large team of scientists and engineers.

  16. The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover Mastcam instruments: Preflight and in-flight calibration, validation, and data archiving

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, James F.; Godber, A.; McNair, S.; Caplinger, M.A.; Maki, J.N.; Lemmon, M.T.; Van Beek, J.; Malin, M.C.; Wellington, D.; Kinch, K.M.; Madsen, M.B.; Hardgrove, C.; Ravine, M.A.; Jensen, E.; Harker, D.; Anderson, Ryan; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Morris, R.V.; Cisneros, E.; Deen, R.G.

    2017-01-01

    The NASA Curiosity rover Mast Camera (Mastcam) system is a pair of fixed-focal length, multispectral, color CCD imagers mounted ~2 m above the surface on the rover's remote sensing mast, along with associated electronics and an onboard calibration target. The left Mastcam (M-34) has a 34 mm focal length, an instantaneous field of view (IFOV) of 0.22 mrad, and a FOV of 20° × 15° over the full 1648 × 1200 pixel span of its Kodak KAI-2020 CCD. The right Mastcam (M-100) has a 100 mm focal length, an IFOV of 0.074 mrad, and a FOV of 6.8° × 5.1° using the same detector. The cameras are separated by 24.2 cm on the mast, allowing stereo images to be obtained at the resolution of the M-34 camera. Each camera has an eight-position filter wheel, enabling it to take Bayer pattern red, green, and blue (RGB) “true color” images, multispectral images in nine additional bands spanning ~400–1100 nm, and images of the Sun in two colors through neutral density-coated filters. An associated Digital Electronics Assembly provides command and data interfaces to the rover, 8 Gb of image storage per camera, 11 bit to 8 bit companding, JPEG compression, and acquisition of high-definition video. Here we describe the preflight and in-flight calibration of Mastcam images, the ways that they are being archived in the NASA Planetary Data System, and the ways that calibration refinements are being developed as the investigation progresses on Mars. We also provide some examples of data sets and analyses that help to validate the accuracy and precision of the calibration

  17. In Situ Sedimentological Evidence for Climate Change in Early Mars Provided by the Curiosity Rover in Gale Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heydari, Ezat; Fairen, Alberto G.

    2016-10-01

    The Striated formation is one of the rock units that was deposited in Gale crater, Mars, during the Late Noachian to Hesperian time (4.2 to 3.6 billion years ago). It crops out for 3 km along the Curiosity's traverse. The Striated formation strikes N65○E and has a depositional dip of 10○ - 20○ to SE. It consists of 500 m to 1000 m of highly rhythmic layers each 1 m to 4 m in thickness. Study of MAHLI and MastCam images provided by the Curiosity Rover indicates that layers form fining-upward cycles consisting of thick-bedded to massive conglomerate at the base that grades upward to thinly bedded conglomerate, then to pebbly sandstone, and topped by laminated, fine grained sandstone. Layers show slump folds, soft sediment deformation, and cross-beddings.The highly rhythmic occurrence and the fining-upward grain size characteristic indicate that each layer within the Striated formation is a coarse-grained turbidite: a type of rock that forms when sediments move down-hill by gravity-driven turbidity flows and deposit in deep waters. We propose that turbidite layers of the Striated formation are related to delivery of sediments to Gale crater by megafloods through its northern rim. Upon entering Gale crater, sediments moved down-hill and deposited as turbidite layers when the crater may have been filled to the rim with water. About 1000 to 3000 turbidite layers are present suggesting the occurrences of as many megafloods during hothouse climatic intervals when Mars was warmer than the Present and had plenty of liquid water. Floods were generated by one or a combination of the following processes: (1) torrential rain along the margins of Mars's Northern Ocean, 500 km to 1000 km to the north, (2) rapid melting of ice in highland areas, and (3) tsunamis formed by impacts on the Northern Ocean. Cold and/or dry climate of icehouse intervals may have followed each warming episode. Mars's climate forcing mechanism and periodicities of climate change are not clear at this

  18. Potential precursor compounds for chlorohydrocarbons detected in Gale Crater, Mars, by the SAM instrument suite on the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Kristen E.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Freissinet, Caroline; Glavin, Daniel P.; Kotrc, Benjamin; Francois, Pascaline; Summons, Roger E.

    2016-03-01

    The detection of chlorinated organic compounds in near-surface sedimentary rocks by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover represents an important step toward characterizing habitable environments on Mars. However, this discovery also raises questions about the identity and source of their precursor compounds and the processes by which they become chlorinated. Here we present the results of analog experiments, conducted under conditions similar to SAM gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses, in which we pyrolyzed potential precursor compounds in the presence of various Cl salts and Fe oxides that have been identified in Martian sediments. While chloromethanes could not be unambiguously identified, 1,2-dichloropropane (1,2-DCP), which is one of the chlorinated compounds identified in SAM data, is formed from the chlorination of aliphatic precursors. Additionally, propanol produced more 1,2-DCP than nonfunctionalized aliphatics such as propane or hexanes. Chlorinated benzenes ranging from chlorobenzene to hexachlorobenzene were identified in experiments with benzene carboxylic acids but not with benzene or toluene. Lastly, the distribution of chlorinated benzenes depended on both the substrate species and the nature and concentration of the Cl salt. Ca and Mg perchlorate, both of which release O2 in addition to Cl2 and HCl upon pyrolysis, formed less chlorobenzene relative to the sum of all chlorinated benzenes than in experiments with ferric chloride. FeCl3, a Lewis acid, catalyzes chlorination but does not aid combustion. Accordingly, both the precursor chemistry and sample mineralogy exert important controls on the distribution of chlorinated organics.

  19. Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover initial Mastcam geomorphologic and multispectral characterization of the Gale crater field site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J. F.; Malin, M.; Maki, J.; Dietrich, W. E.; Edgett, K. S.; Edwards, L.; Garvin, J. B.; Hallet, B.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Heydari, E.; Johnson, J. R.; Kah, L. C.; Lemmon, M. T.; Minitti, M.; Olson, T. S.; Parker, T. J.; Rice, M. S.; Rowland, S. K.; Schieber, J.; Sletten, R. S.; Sullivan, R. J.; Sumner, D. Y.; Thomas, P. C.; Yingst, R.; Team, M.

    2013-12-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater on August 6, 2012 and has been enabling the exploration of a variety of geologic terrains between the rover's landing site at Bradbury Rise and the nearby topographic low point known as Yellowknife Bay. Curiosity carries a multispectral imaging system known as Mastcam, which consists of two boresighted CCD cameras, one of which acquires relatively wide field images (34-mm focal length, 18.4x15 degree FOV) and the other of which obtains narrower-angle telephoto images (100-mm focal length, 6.3x5.1 degree FOV). Each of these cameras has an 8-position filter wheel to enable imaging through broadband RGB Bayer filtes, nine specific narrowband filters in the 445 to 1012 nm region to enabled limited detectability of certain ferric, ferrous, and hydrated minerals, and neutral density solar filters for monitoring of atmospheric opacity. The Mastcams acquire images designed primarily to address specific scientific goals in geology, mineralogy, and atmospheric science, but also to support operational decisions related to rover driving, arm instrument placement, and rover subsystems status. Here we provide an overview of the initial scientific imaging results from the Mastcam investigation, from sol 0 (landing sol) through the end of the drilling campaign in Yellowknife Bay and the beginning of the long drive from there to the base of Mt. Sharp. A diversity of materials exposed at the surface have been encountered. This includes angular to sub-angular rock fragments scattered across the surface, boulder to fine gravel in size, variably dusty, and commonly fine grained. Thin outcrops of pebble to gravel conglomerate have been encountered across Bradbury rise. Granular ripples and other fine grained deposits were periodically encountered. In the wind-eroded Yellowknife Bay area, extensive polygonally fractured outcrops of sandstone and mudstone (with light-toned fracture fills) were discovered. The occurrence of

  20. The Challenges in Applying Magnetroesistive Sensors on the 'Curiosity' Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Michael R.

    2013-01-01

    Magnetoresistive Sensors were selected for use on the motor encoders throughout the Curiosity Rover for motor position feedback devices. The Rover contains 28 acuators with a corresponding number of encoder assemblies. The environment on Mars provides opportunities for challenges to any hardware design. The encoder assemblies presented several barriers that had to be vaulted in order to say the rover was ready to fly. The environment and encoder specific design features provided challenges that had to be solved in time to fly.

  1. Onboard calibration igneous targets for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and the Chemistry Camera laser induced breakdown spectroscopy instrument

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fabre, C., E-mail: cecile.fabre@g2r.uhp-nancy.fr [G2R, Nancy Universite (France); Maurice, S.; Cousin, A. [IRAP, Toulouse (France); Wiens, R.C. [LANL, Los Alamos, NM (United States); Forni, O. [IRAP, Toulouse (France); Sautter, V. [MNHN, Paris (France); Guillaume, D. [GET, Toulouse (France)

    2011-03-15

    Accurate characterization of the Chemistry Camera (ChemCam) laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) on-board composition targets is of prime importance for the ChemCam instrument. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) science and operations teams expect ChemCam to provide the first compositional results at remote distances (1.5-7 m) during the in situ analyses of the Martian surface starting in 2012. Thus, establishing LIBS reference spectra from appropriate calibration standards must be undertaken diligently. Considering the global mineralogy of the Martian surface, and the possible landing sites, three specific compositions of igneous targets have been determined. Picritic, noritic, and shergottic glasses have been produced, along with a Macusanite natural glass. A sample of each target will fly on the MSL Curiosity rover deck, 1.56 m from the ChemCam instrument, and duplicates are available on the ground. Duplicates are considered to be identical, as the relative standard deviation (RSD) of the composition dispersion is around 8%. Electronic microprobe and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA ICP-MS) analyses give evidence that the chemical composition of the four silicate targets is very homogeneous at microscopic scales larger than the instrument spot size, with RSD < 5% for concentration variations > 0.1 wt.% using electronic microprobe, and < 10% for concentration variations > 0.01 wt.% using LA ICP-MS. The LIBS campaign on the igneous targets performed under flight-like Mars conditions establishes reference spectra for the entire mission. The LIBS spectra between 240 and 900 nm are extremely rich, hundreds of lines with high signal-to-noise, and a dynamical range sufficient to identify unambiguously major, minor and trace elements. For instance, a first LIBS calibration curve has been established for strontium from [Sr] = 284 ppm to [Sr] = 1480 ppm, showing the potential for the future calibrations for other major or minor

  2. Modeling turbulent flows in the atmospheric boundary layer of Mars: application to Gale crater, Mars, landing site of the Curiosity rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, William; Day, Kenzie; Kocurek, Gary

    2016-11-01

    Mars is a dry planet with a thin atmosphere. Aeolian processes - wind-driven mobilization of sediment and dust - are the exclusive mode of landscape variability on Mars. Craters are common topographic features on the surface of Mars, and many craters on Mars contain a prominent central mound (NASA's Curiosity rover was landed in Gale crater). Using density-normalized large-eddy simulations, we have modeled turbulent flows over crater-like topographies that feature a central mound. We have also run one simulation of flow over a digital elevation map of Gale crater. Resultant datasets suggest a deflationary mechanism wherein vortices shed from the upwind crater rim are realigned to conform to the crater profile via stretching and tilting. This was accomplished using three-dimensional datasets (momentum and vorticity) retrieved from LES. As a result, helical vortices occupy the inner region of the crater and, therefore, are primarily responsible for aeolian morphodynamics in the crater. We have also used the immersed-boundary method body force distribution to compute the aerodynamic surface stress on the crater. These results suggest that secondary flows - originating from flow separation at the crater - have played an important role in shaping landscape features observed in craters (including the dune fields observed on Mars, many of which are actively evolving). None.

  3. The CheMin XRD on the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity: Construction, Operation, and Quantitative Mineralogical Results from the Surface of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, David F.

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory mission was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Nov. 26, 2011 and landed in Gale crater, Mars on Aug. 6, 2012. MSL's mission is to identify and characterize ancient "habitable" environments on Mars. MSL's precision landing system placed the Curiosity rover within 2 km of the center of its 20 X 6 km landing ellipse, next to Gale's central mound, a 5,000 meter high pile of laminated sediment which may contain 1 billion years of Mars history. Curiosity carries with it a full suite of analytical instruments, including the CheMin X-ray diffractometer, the first XRD flown in space. CheMin is essentially a transmission X-ray pinhole camera. A fine-focus Co source and collimator transmits a 50µm beam through a powdered sample held between X-ray transparent plastic windows. The sample holder is shaken by a piezoelectric actuator such that the powder flows like a liquid, each grain passing in random orientation through the beam over time. Forward-diffracted and fluoresced X-ray photons from the sample are detected by an X-ray sensitive Charge Coupled Device (CCD) operated in single photon counting mode. When operated in this way, both the x,y position and the energy of each photon are detected. The resulting energy-selected Co Kalpha Debye-Scherrer pattern is used to determine the identities and amounts of minerals present via Rietveld refinement, and a histogram of all X-ray events constitutes an X-ray fluorescence analysis of the sample.The key role that definitive mineralogy plays in understanding the Martian surface is a consequence of the fact that minerals are thermodynamic phases, having known and specific ranges of temperature, pressure and composition within which they are stable. More than simple compositional analysis, definitive mineralogical analysis can provide information about pressure/temperature conditions of formation, past climate, water activity and the like. Definitive mineralogical analyses are necessary to establish

  4. Martian Surface Mineralogy from Rovers with Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, Richard V.

    2016-01-01

    Beginning in 2004, NASA has landed three well-instrumented rovers on the equatorial martian surface. The Spirit rover landed in Gusev crater in early January, 2004, and the Opportunity rover landed on the opposite side of Mars at Meridian Planum 21 days later. The Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater to the west of Gusev crater in August, 2012. Both Opportunity and Curiosity are currently operational. The twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity carried Mossbauer spectrometers to determine the oxidation state of iron and its mineralogical composition. The Curiosity rover has an X-ray diffraction instrument for identification and quantification of crystalline materials including clay minerals. Instrument suites on all three rovers are capable of distinguishing primary rock-forming minerals like olivine, pyroxene and magnetite and products of aqueous alteration in including amorphous iron oxides, hematite, goethite, sulfates, and clay minerals. The oxidation state of iron ranges from that typical for unweathered rocks and soils to nearly completely oxidized (weathered) rocks and soils as products of aqueous and acid-sulfate alteration. The in situ rover mineralogy also serves as ground-truth for orbital observations, and orbital mineralogical inferences are used for evaluating and planning rover exploration.

  5. Mars Atmospheric Escape Recorded by H, C and O Isotope Ratios in Carbon Dioxide and Water Measured by the Sam Tunable Laser Spectrometer on the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, C. R.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Leshin, L. A.; Atreya, S. K.; Flesch, G. J.; Stern, J.; Christensen, L. E.; Vasavada, A. R.; Owen, T.; Niles, P. B.; Jones, J. H.; Franz, H.

    2013-01-01

    Stable isotope ratios in C, H, N, O and S are powerful indicators of a wide variety of planetary geophysical processes that can identify origin, transport, temperature history, radiation exposure, atmospheric escape, environmental habitability and biological activity [2]. For Mars, measurements to date have indicated enrichment in all the heavier isotopes consistent with atmospheric escape processes, but with uncertainty too high to tie the results with the more precise isotopic ratios achieved from SNC meteoritic analyses. We will present results to date of H, C and O isotope ratios in CO2 and H2O made to high precision (few per mil) using the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) that is part of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on MSL s Curiosity Rover.

  6. Nitrogen on Mars: Insights from Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, J. C.; Sutter, B.; Jackson, W. A.; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; McKay, Chrisopher P.; Ming, W.; Archer, P. Douglas; Glavin, D. P.; Fairen, A. G.; Mahaffy, Paul R.

    2017-01-01

    Recent detection of nitrate on Mars indicates that nitrogen fixation processes occurred in early martian history. Data collected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity Rover can be integrated with Mars analog work in order to better understand the fixation and mobility of nitrogen on Mars, and thus its availability to putative biology. In particular, the relationship between nitrate and other soluble salts may help reveal the timing of nitrogen fixation and post-depositional behavior of nitrate on Mars. In addition, in situ measurements of nitrogen abundance and isotopic composition may be used to model atmospheric conditions on early Mars.

  7. Mars Methane Detection and Variability at Gale Crater Measured by the TLS instrument in SAM on the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, C. R.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Atreya, S. K.; Flesch, G.

    2015-12-01

    Over the last several years, Earth-based telescopic and Mars orbit remote sensing instruments have reported significant abundances of methane on Mars ranging to tens of parts-per-billion by volume (ppbv). These observations have reported "plumes" or localized patches of methane with variations on timescales much faster than model predictions, leading to speculation of sources from sub-surface methanogen bacteria, geological water-rock reactions, degassing of infalling comets, or UV degradation of micro-meteorites or interplanetary dust. Using the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on Curiosity, we report in situ detection of methane at background levels of ~0.7 ppbv and also in an episodic release at ten times this value. We will discuss the mechanisms that are believed contributing to these two regimes, report new measurements made since the publication in Science1, and discuss the evidence and implications for seasonal vs. episodic release. Reference 1. "Mars Methane Detection and Variability at Gale Crater", C. R. Webster et al., Science, 347, 415-417 (2015). The research described here was carried out in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

  8. Extraction of compositional and hydration information of sulfates from laser-induced plasma spectra recorded under Mars atmospheric conditions - Implications for ChemCam investigations on Curiosity rover

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sobron, Pablo, E-mail: pablo.sobron@asc-csa.gc.ca [Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130 (United States); Wang, Alian [Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130 (United States); Sobron, Francisco [Unidad Asociada UVa-CSIC a traves del Centro de Astrobiologia, Parque Tecnologico de Boecillo, Parcela 203, Boecillo (Valladolid), 47151 (Spain)

    2012-02-15

    Given the volume of spectral data required for providing accurate compositional information and thereby insight in mineralogy and petrology from laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) measurements, fast data processing tools are a must. This is particularly true during the tactical operations of rover-based planetary exploration missions such as the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, which will carry a remote LIBS spectrometer in its science payload. We have developed: an automated fast pre-processing sequence of algorithms for converting a series of LIBS spectra (typically 125) recorded from a single target into a reliable SNR-enhanced spectrum; a dedicated routine to quantify its spectral features; and a set of calibration curves using standard hydrous and multi-cation sulfates. These calibration curves allow deriving the elemental compositions and the degrees of hydration of various hydrous sulfates, one of the two major types of secondary minerals found on Mars. Our quantitative tools are built upon calibration-curve modeling, through the correlation of the elemental concentrations and the peak areas of the atomic emission lines observed in the LIBS spectra of standard samples. At present, we can derive the elemental concentrations of K, Na, Ca, Mg, Fe, Al, S, O, and H in sulfates, as well as the hydration degrees of Ca- and Mg-sulfates, from LIBS spectra obtained in both Earth atmosphere and Mars atmospheric conditions in a Planetary Environment and Analysis Chamber (PEACh). In addition, structural information can be potentially obtained for various Fe-sulfates. - Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Routines for LIBS spectral data fast automated processing. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Identification of elements and determination of the elemental composition. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Calibration curves for sulfate samples in Earth and Mars atmospheric conditions. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Fe curves probably related to the crystalline

  9. Hydrogen and chlorine abundances in the Kimberley formation of Gale crater measured by the DAN instrument on board the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Litvak, M. L.; Mitrofanov, I. G.; Hardgrove, C.; Stack, K. M.; Sanin, A. B.; Lisov, D.; Boynton, W. V.; Fedosov, F.; Golovin, D.; Harshman, K.; Jun, I.; Kozyrev, A. S.; Kuzmin, R. O.; Malakhov, A.; Milliken, R.; Mischna, M.; Moersch, J.; Mokrousov, M.; Nikiforov, S.; Starr, R.; Tate, C.; Tret'yakov, V. I.; Vostrukhin, A.

    2016-05-01

    The Dynamic Albedo of Neutron (DAN) instrument on board the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover acquired a series of measurements as part of an observational campaign of the Kimberley area in Gale crater. These observations were planned to assess the variability of bulk hydrogen and neutron-absorbing elements, characterized as chlorine-equivalent concentration, in the geologic members of the Kimberley formation and in surface materials exposed throughout the area. During the traverse of the Kimberley area, Curiosity drove primarily over the "Smooth Hummocky" unit, a unit composed primarily of sand and loose rocks, with occasional stops at bedrock of the Kimberley formation. During the Kimberley campaign, DAN detected ranges of water equivalent hydrogen (WEH) and chlorine-equivalent concentrations of 1.5-2.5 wt % and 0.6-2 wt %, respectively. Results show that as the traverse progressed, DAN observed an overall decrease in both WEH and chlorine-equivalent concentration measured over the sand and loose rocks of the Smooth Hummocky unit. DAN measurements of WEH and chlorine-equivalent concentrations in the well-exposed sedimentary bedrock of the Kimberley formation show fluctuations with stratigraphic position. The Kimberley campaign also provided an opportunity to compare measurements from DAN with those from the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and the Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) instruments. DAN measurements obtained near the Windjana drill location show a WEH concentration of ~1.5 wt %, consistent with the concentration of low-temperature absorbed water measured by SAM for the Windjana drill sample. A comparison between DAN chlorine-equivalent concentrations measured throughout the Kimberley area and APXS observations of corresponding local surface targets and drill fines shows general agreement between the two instruments.

  10. Overview of Initial Results From Studies of the Bagnold Dune Field on Mars by the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bridges, Nathan; Ehlmann, Bethany; Ewing, Ryan; Newman, Claire; Sullivan, Robert; Conrad, Pamela; Cousin, Agnes; Edgett, Kenneth; Fisk, Martin; Fraeman, Abigail; Johnson, Jeffrey; Lamb, Michael; Lapotre, Mathieu; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Martinez, German; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Thompson, Lucy; van Beek, Jason; Vasavada, Ashwin; Wiens, Roger

    2016-04-01

    The Curiosity Rover is currently studying the Bagnold Dunes in Gale Crater. Here we provide a general overview of results and note that other EGU presentations will focus on specific aspects. The in situ activities have not yet occurred as of this writing, but other analyses have been performed approaching and within the dunefield. ChemCam passive spectra of Bagnold Dune sands are consistent with the presence of olivine. Two APXS spots on the High Dune stoss slope margin, and two others in an engineering test sand patch, show less inferred dust, greater Si, and higher Fe/Mn than other "soils" in Gale Crater. ChemCam analyses of more than 300 soils along the Curiosity traverse show that both fine and coarse soils have increasing iron and alkali content as the Bagnold Dunes are approached, a trend that may reflect admixtures of local rocks (alkalis + iron) to the fines, but also a contribution of Bagnold-like sand (iron) that increases toward the dunefield. MAHLI images of sands on the lower east stoss slope of High Dune show medium and coarse sand in ripple forms, and very fine and fine sand in ripple troughs. Most grains are dark gray, but some are also brick-red/brown, white, green translucent, yellow, brown„ colorless translucent, or vitreous spheres HiRISE orbital images show that the Bagnold Dunes migrate on the order of decimeters or more per Earth year. Prior to entering the dune field, wind disruption of dump piles and grain movement was observed over multi-sol time spans, demonstrating that winds are of sufficient strength to mobilize unconsolidated material, either through direct aerodynamic force or via the action of smaller impacting grains. Within the dune field, we are, as of this writing, engaged in change detection experiments with Mastcam and ChemCam's RMI camera. Data we have so far, spanning 8 sols from the same location, shows no changes. Mastcam and RMI images of the stoss sides of Namib, Noctivaga, and High Dune show that the "ripples" seen

  11. Mars Rover RTG Study

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schock, Alfred

    1989-11-27

    This report summarizes the results of a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) design study conducted by Fairchild Space Company at the direction of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Special Applications, in support of the Mars Rover and Sample Return mission under investigation at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Presented at the 40th Congress of the IAF, Oct. 7-13, 1989 in Torremolinos, Malaga-Spain. The paper describes the design and analysis of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) for powering the Mars Rover vehicle, which is a critical element of the unmanned Mars Rover and Sample Return mission (MRSR). The RTG design study was conducted by Fairchild Space for the U.S. DOE in support of the JPL MRSR Project. The paper briefly describes a reference mission scenario, an illustrative Rover design and activity pattern on Mars, and its power system requirements and environmental constraints, including the RTG cooling requirements during transit to Mars. It summarizes the baseline RTG's mass breakdown, and presents a detailed description of its thermal, thermoelectric, and electrical analysis. The results presented show the RTG performance achievable with current technology, and the performance improvements that would be achievable with various technology developments. It provides a basis for selecting the optimum strategy for meeting the Mars Rover design goals with minimal programmatic risk and cost. Cross Reference CID #7135 dated 10/1989. There is a duplicate copy. This document is not relevant to the OSTI Library. Do not send.

  12. Evolved Gas Analyses of the Murray Formation in Gale Crater, Mars: Results of the Curiosity Rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; McAdam, A. C.; Rampe, E. B.; Thompson, L. M.; Ming, D. W.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Stern, J. C.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Archer, P. D.

    2017-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover has analyzed 13 samples from Gale Crater. All SAM-evolved gas analyses have yielded a multitude of volatiles (e.g., H2O, SO2, H2S, CO2, CO, NO, O2, HCl) [1- 6]. The objectives of this work are to 1) Characterize recent evolved SO2, CO2, O2, and NO gas traces of the Murray formation mudstone, 2) Constrain sediment mineralogy/composition based on SAM evolved gas analysis (SAM-EGA), and 3) Discuss the implications of these results relative to understanding the geological history of Gale Crater.

  13. Evolved Gas Analyses of Sedimentary Materials in Gale Crater, Mars: Results of the Curiosity Rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument from Yellowknife Bay to the Stimson Formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; McAdam, A. C.; Rampe, E. B.; Ming, D. W.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Stern, J. C.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Archer, P. D.

    2016-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover has analyzed 10 samples from Gale Crater. All SAM evolved gas analyses have yielded a multitude of volatiles (e.g, H2O, SO2, H2S, CO2, CO, NO, O2, HC1). The objectives of this work are to 1) Characterize the evolved H2O, SO2, CO2, and O2 gas traces of sediments analyzed by SAM through sol 1178, 2) Constrain sediment mineralogy/composition based on SAM evolved gas analysis (SAM-EGA), and 3) Discuss the implications of these results releative to understanding the geochemical history of Gale Crater.

  14. Mars Rover RTG Study

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schock, Alfred

    1989-10-01

    Presented at the 40th Congress of the IAF, Oct. 7-13, 1989 in Torremolinos, Malaga-Spain. The paper describes the design and analysis of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) for powering the Mars Rover vehicle, which is a critical element of the unmanned Mars Rover and Sample Return mission (MRSR). The RTG design study was conducted by Fairchild Space for the U.S. DOE in support of the JPL MRSR Project. The paper briefly describes a reference mission scenario, an illustrative Rover design and activity pattern on Mars, and its power system requirements and environmental constraints, including the RTG cooling requirements during transit to Mars. It summarizes the baseline RTG's mass breakdown, and presents a detailed description of its thermal, thermoelectric, and electrical analysis. The results presented show the RTG performance achievable with current technology, and the performance improvements that would be achievable with various technology developments. It provides a basis for selecting the optimum strategy for meeting the Mars Rover design goals with minimal programmatic risk and cost. There is a duplicate copy and three copies in the file.

  15. Evidence for indigenous nitrogen in sedimentary and aeolian deposits from the Curiosity rover investigations at Gale crater, Mars

    OpenAIRE

    Stern, Jennifer C.; McKay, Christopher P; Archer, P. Douglas; Brunner, Anna E.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Fairen, Alberto G.; Franz, Heather B.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Kashyap, Srishti; McAdam, Amy C.; Ming, Douglas W.; Wray, James J.; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Zorzano, Maria-Paz; Conrad, Pamela G.

    2015-01-01

    We present data supporting the presence of an indigenous source of fixed nitrogen on the surface of Mars in the form of nitrate. This fixed nitrogen may indicate the first stage in development of a primitive nitrogen cycle on the surface of ancient Mars and would have provided a biochemically accessible source of nitrogen.

  16. Mars Exploration Rover mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crisp, Joy A.; Adler, Mark; Matijevic, Jacob R.; Squyres, Steven W.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Kass, David M.

    2003-10-01

    In January 2004 the Mars Exploration Rover mission will land two rovers at two different landing sites that show possible evidence for past liquid-water activity. The spacecraft design is based on the Mars Pathfinder configuration for cruise and entry, descent, and landing. Each of the identical rovers is equipped with a science payload of two remote-sensing instruments that will view the surrounding terrain from the top of a mast, a robotic arm that can place three instruments and a rock abrasion tool on selected rock and soil samples, and several onboard magnets and calibration targets. Engineering sensors and components useful for science investigations include stereo navigation cameras, stereo hazard cameras in front and rear, wheel motors, wheel motor current and voltage, the wheels themselves for digging, gyros, accelerometers, and reference solar cell readings. Mission operations will allow commanding of the rover each Martian day, or sol, on the basis of the previous sol's data. Over a 90-sol mission lifetime, the rovers are expected to drive hundreds of meters while carrying out field geology investigations, exploration, and atmospheric characterization. The data products will be delivered to the Planetary Data System as integrated batch archives.

  17. Curiosity: the Mars Science Laboratory Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Richard A.

    2012-01-01

    The Curiosity rover landed successfully in Gale Crater, Mars on August 5, 2012. This event was a dramatic high point in the decade long effort to design, build, test and fly the most sophisticated scientific vehicle ever sent to Mars. The real achievements of the mission have only just begun, however, as Curiosity is now searching for signs that Mars once possessed habitable environments. The Mars Science Laboratory Project has been one of the most ambitious and challenging planetary projects that NASA has undertaken. It started in the successful aftermath of the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover project and was designed to take significant steps forward in both engineering and scientific capabilities. This included a new landing system capable of emplacing a large mobile vehicle over a wide range of potential landing sites, advanced sample acquisition and handling capabilities that can retrieve samples from both rocks and soil, and a high reliability avionics suite that is designed to permit long duration surface operations. It also includes a set of ten sophisticated scientific instruments that will investigate both the geological context of the landing site plus analyze samples to understand the chemical & organic composition of rocks & soil found there. The Gale Crater site has been specifically selected as a promising location where ancient habitable environments may have existed and for which evidence may be preserved. Curiosity will spend a minimum of one Mars year (about two Earth years) looking for this evidence. This paper will report on the progress of the mission over the first few months of surface operations, plus look retrospectively at lessons learned during both the development and cruise operations phase of the mission..

  18. Potential sources of artifacts and backgrounds generated by the sample preparation of the SAM experiment aboard the Curiosity Rover on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buch, Arnaud; Belmahdi, Imene; Szopa, Cyril; Freissinet, Caroline; Glavin, Daniel P.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Summons, Roger; Miller, Kristen; Coll, Patrice; cabane, Michel; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; Stern, Jennifer; Coscia, David; Teinturier, Samuel; Bonnet, Jean-Yves; Dequaire, Tristan; Mahaffy, Paul; MSL Science Team

    2016-10-01

    Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) is one of the instruments of the MSL mission. Three analytical devices are onboard SAM: the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS), the Gas Chromatography (GC) and the Mass Spectrometer (MS). To adapt the nature of a sample to the analytical devices used on SAM, a sample preparation and gas processing system is implemented with (a) a pyrolysis system, (b) wet chemistry: MTBSTFA and TMAH (c) the hydrocarbon trap (silica beads, Tenax® TA and Carbosieve G) which is employed to concentrate volatiles released from the sample prior to GC-MS analysis [1].Volatile compounds and abundant chlorinated hydrocarbons have been detected with SAM when analyzing samples collected in several sites explored by Curiosity rover. Some volatile compounds (chlorinated and non-chlorinated) come from the degradation of the MTBSTFA under high temperature or by the reaction of Martian oxychlorine compounds (present in the samples) with terrestrial carbon coming from the derivatization agent (MTBSTFA) used in SAM [2,3]. But other chlorinated compounds do not follow this pathway. For example, Chlorobenzene has been detected by SAM but it cannot be formed by the reaction of MTBSTFA and perchlorates. Then, two other reaction pathways for chlorobenzene were therefore proposed: (1) reactions between the volatile thermal degradation products of perchlorates (e.g. O2, Cl2 and HCl) and Tenax® and (2) the interaction of perchlorates (T>200°C) with organic material from Mars's soil such as benzenecarboxylates. However, even if major part of the chlorobenzene detected has been identified as Martian origin [4] it is important to list all the potential byproducts able to be released from the Tenax®.Thus, this study inventory all the possible compounds which are originated from Tenax®, MTBSTFA and their interaction with perchlorate.References: [1] Buch, A. et al. (2009) J chrom. A, 43, 143-151. [2] Glavin, D., A. et al. (2013), LPSC. [3] Eigenbrode, J. et al. (2013), LPSC. [4

  19. Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgett, Kenneth S.; Yingst, R. Aileen; Ravine, Michael A.; Caplinger, Michael A.; Maki, Justin N.; Ghaemi, F. Tony; Schaffner, Jacob A.; Bell, James F.; Edwards, Laurence J.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Heydari, Ezat; Kah, Linda C.; Lemmon, Mark T.; Minitti, Michelle E.; Olson, Timothy S.; Parker, Timothy J.; Rowland, Scott K.; Schieber, Juergen; Sullivan, Robert J.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Thomas, Peter C.; Jensen, Elsa H.; Simmonds, John J.; Sengstacken, Aaron J.; Willson, Reg G.; Goetz, Walter

    2012-09-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) investigation will use a 2-megapixel color camera with a focusable macro lens aboard the rover, Curiosity, to investigate the stratigraphy and grain-scale texture, structure, mineralogy, and morphology of geologic materials in northwestern Gale crater. Of particular interest is the stratigraphic record of a ˜5 km thick layered rock sequence exposed on the slopes of Aeolis Mons (also known as Mount Sharp). The instrument consists of three parts, a camera head mounted on the turret at the end of a robotic arm, an electronics and data storage assembly located inside the rover body, and a calibration target mounted on the robotic arm shoulder azimuth actuator housing. MAHLI can acquire in-focus images at working distances from ˜2.1 cm to infinity. At the minimum working distance, image pixel scale is ˜14 μm per pixel and very coarse silt grains can be resolved. At the working distance of the Mars Exploration Rover Microscopic Imager cameras aboard Spirit and Opportunity, MAHLI's resolution is comparable at ˜30 μm per pixel. Onboard capabilities include autofocus, auto-exposure, sub-framing, video imaging, Bayer pattern color interpolation, lossy and lossless compression, focus merging of up to 8 focus stack images, white light and longwave ultraviolet (365 nm) illumination of nearby subjects, and 8 gigabytes of non-volatile memory data storage.

  20. Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgett, Kenneth S.; Yingst, R. Aileen; Ravine, Michael A.; Caplinger, Michael A.; Maki, Justin N.; Ghaemi, F. Tony; Schaffner, Jacob A.; Bell, James F.; Edwards, Laurence J.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Heydari, Ezat; Kah, Linda C.; Lemmon, Mark T.; Minitti, Michelle E.; Olson, Timothy S.; Parker, Timothy J.; Rowland, Scott K.; Schieber, Juergen; Sullivan, Robert J.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Thomas, Peter C.; Jensen, Elsa H.; Simmonds, John J.; Sengstacken, Aaron J.; Wilson, Reg G.; Goetz, Walter

    2012-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) investigation will use a 2-megapixel color camera with a focusable macro lens aboard the rover, Curiosity, to investigate the stratigraphy and grain-scale texture, structure, mineralogy, and morphology of geologic materials in northwestern Gale crater. Of particular interest is the stratigraphic record of a ?5 km thick layered rock sequence exposed on the slopes of Aeolis Mons (also known as Mount Sharp). The instrument consists of three parts, a camera head mounted on the turret at the end of a robotic arm, an electronics and data storage assembly located inside the rover body, and a calibration target mounted on the robotic arm shoulder azimuth actuator housing. MAHLI can acquire in-focus images at working distances from ?2.1 cm to infinity. At the minimum working distance, image pixel scale is ?14 μm per pixel and very coarse silt grains can be resolved. At the working distance of the Mars Exploration Rover Microscopic Imager cameras aboard Spirit and Opportunity, MAHLI?s resolution is comparable at ?30 μm per pixel. Onboard capabilities include autofocus, auto-exposure, sub-framing, video imaging, Bayer pattern color interpolation, lossy and lossless compression, focus merging of up to 8 focus stack images, white light and longwave ultraviolet (365 nm) illumination of nearby subjects, and 8 gigabytes of non-volatile memory data storage.

  1. Mars Rover RTG Study

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schock, Alfred

    1989-08-25

    This report summarizes the results of a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) design study conducted by Fairchild Space Company at the direction of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of SpecialApplications, in suppport of the Mars Rover and Sample Return mission under investigation at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The report is a rearranged, updated, and significantly expanded amalgam of three interrelated papers presented at the 24th Intersocity Energy Conversion Engineering Conference (IECEC) at Arlington, Virginia, on August 10, 1989.

  2. Volatiles and Isotopes and the Exploration of Ancient and Modern Martian Habitability with the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mhaffy, P. R.

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Mission was designed to pave the way for the study of life beyond Earth through a search for a habitable environment in a carefully selected landing site on Mars. Its ongoing exploration of Gale Crater with the Curiosity Rover has provided a rich data set that revealed such an environment in an ancient lakebed [1]. Volatile and isotope measurements of both the atmosphere and solids contribute to our growing understanding of both modern and ancient environments.

  3. Influence of Oxychlorine Phases During the Pyrolysis of Organic Molecules: Implications for the Quest of Organics on Mars with the SAM Experiment Onboard the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Millan, M.; Szopa, C.; Buch, A.; Belmahdi, I.; Glavin, D. P.; Freissinet, C.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Archer, P. D., Jr,; Sutter, B.; Mahaffy, P.

    2017-01-01

    One among the main objectives of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) experiment is the in situ molecular analysis of gases evolving from solid samples heated up to approximately 850 degrees Centigrade, and collected by Curiosity on Mars surface/sub-surface in Gale crater. With this aim, SAM uses a gas-chromatograph coupled to a quadrupole mass spectrometer (GC-QMS) devoted to separate, detect and identify both volatile inorganic and organic compounds. SAM detected chlorinated organic molecules produced in evolved gas analysis (EGA) experiments. Several of these were also detected by the Viking experiments in 1976. SAM also detected oxychlorine compounds that were present at the Phoenix landing site. The oxychlorines may be prevelant over much of the martian surface. The C1 to C3 aliphatic chlorohydrocarbons (chloromethane and di- and trichloromethane) detected by SAM were attributed to reaction products occurring between the oxychlorines phases and the organic compounds coming from SAM instrument background. But SAM also showed the presence of a large excess of chlorobenzene and C2 to C4 dichloroalkanes among the volatile species released by the Cumberland sample of the Sheepbed mudstone. For the first time in the history of the Mars exploration, this proved the presence of Mars indigenous organic material at the Mars' surface. However, the identification of the precursor organic compounds of these chlorohydrocarbons is difficult due to the complexity of the reactions occurring during the sample pyrolysis. Laboratory pyrolysis experiments have demonstrated that oxychlorines phases such as perchlorates and chlorates, decomposed into dioxygen and volatile chlorine bearing molecules (HCl and/or Cl2) during the pyrolysis. These chemical species can then react with the organic molecules present in the martian solid samples through oxidation, chlorination and oxychlorination processes.

  4. Integrated Results from Analysis of the Rocknest Aeolian Deposit by the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leshin, L. A.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Blake, D. F.; Edgett, K. S.; Gellert, R.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Malin, M. C.; Wiens, R. C.; Treiman, A. H.; Ming, D. W.; Eigenbrode, J.

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover spent 45 sols (from sol 56-101) at an area called Rocknest (Fig. 1), characterizing local geology and ingesting its aeolian fines into the analytical instruments CheMin and SAM for mineralogical and chemical analysis. Many abstracts at this meeting present the contextual information and detailed data on these first solid samples analyzed in detail by Curiosity at Rocknest. Here, we present an integrated view of the results from Rocknest - the general agreement from discussions among the entire MSL Science Team.

  5. Abundance and isotopic composition of gases in the martian atmosphere from the Curiosity rover

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mahaffy, P.R.; Webster, C.R.; Atreya, S.K.; Franz, H.; Wong, M.; Conrad, P.G.; Harpold, D.; Jones, J.J.; Leshin, L.A.; Manning, H.; Owen, T.; Pepin, R.O.; Squyres, S.; Trainer, M.; MSL Science Team, the|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/292012217

    2013-01-01

    Volume mixing and isotope ratios secured with repeated atmospheric measurements taken with the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite on the Curiosity rover are: carbon dioxide (CO2), 0.960(±0.007); argon-40 (40Ar), 0.0193(±0.0001); nitrogen (N2), 0.0189(±0.0003); oxygen, 1.45(±0.09) × 10−3;

  6. Abundance and isotopic composition of gases in the martian atmosphere from the Curiosity rover

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mahaffy, P.R.; Webster, C.R.; Atreya, S.K.; Franz, H.; Wong, M.; Conrad, P.G.; Harpold, D.; Jones, J.J.; Leshin, L.A.; Manning, H.; Owen, T.; Pepin, R.O.; Squyres, S.; Trainer, M.; MSL Science Team, the

    2013-01-01

    Volume mixing and isotope ratios secured with repeated atmospheric measurements taken with the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite on the Curiosity rover are: carbon dioxide (CO2), 0.960(±0.007); argon-40 (40Ar), 0.0193(±0.0001); nitrogen (N2), 0.0189(±0.0003); oxygen, 1.45(±0.09) × 10−3; carbo

  7. Preparations for ExoMars: Learning Lessons from Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Peter Henry; Hutchinson, Ian; Morgan, Sally; McHugh, Melissa; Malherbe, Cedric; Lerman, Hannah; INGLEY, Richard

    2016-10-01

    In 2020, the European Space Agency will launch its first Mars rover mission, ExoMars. The rover will use a drill to obtain samples from up to 2m below the Martian surface that will then be analysed using a variety of analytical instruments, including the Raman Laser Spectrometer (RLS), which will be the first Raman spectrometer to be used on a planetary mission.To prepare for ExoMars RLS operations, we report on a series of experiments that have been performed in order to investigate the response of a representative Raman instrument to a number of analogue samples (selected based on the types of material known to be important, following investigations performed by NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, MSL, on the Curiosity rover). Raman spectroscopy will provide molecular and mineralogical information about the samples obtained from the drill cores on ExoMars. MSL acquires similar information using the CheMin XRD instrument which analyses samples acquired from drill holes several centimetres deep. Like Raman spectroscopy, XRD also provides information on the mineralogical makeup of the analysed samples.The samples in our study were selected based on CheMin data obtained from drill sites at Yellowknife Bay, one of the first locations visited by Curiosity (supplemented with additional fine scale elemental information obtained with the ChemCam LIBS laser instrument). Once selected (or produced), the samples were characterised using standard laboratory XRD and XRF instruments (in order to compare with the data obtained by CheMin) and a standard, laboratory based LIBS system (in order to compare with the ChemCam data). This characterisation provides confirmation that the analogue samples are representative of the materials likely to be encountered on Mars by the ExoMars rover.A representative, miniaturised Raman spectrometer was used to analyse the samples, using acquisition strategies and operating modes similar to those expected for the ExoMars instrument. The type of

  8. Mars Science Laboratory Rover System Thermal Test

    Science.gov (United States)

    Novak, Keith S.; Kempenaar, Joshua E.; Liu, Yuanming; Bhandari, Pradeep; Dudik, Brenda A.

    2012-01-01

    On November 26, 2011, NASA launched a large (900 kg) rover as part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission to Mars. The MSL rover is scheduled to land on Mars on August 5, 2012. Prior to launch, the Rover was successfully operated in simulated mission extreme environments during a 16-day long Rover System Thermal Test (STT). This paper describes the MSL Rover STT, test planning, test execution, test results, thermal model correlation and flight predictions. The rover was tested in the JPL 25-Foot Diameter Space Simulator Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The Rover operated in simulated Cruise (vacuum) and Mars Surface environments (8 Torr nitrogen gas) with mission extreme hot and cold boundary conditions. A Xenon lamp solar simulator was used to impose simulated solar loads on the rover during a bounding hot case and during a simulated Mars diurnal test case. All thermal hardware was exercised and performed nominally. The Rover Heat Rejection System, a liquid-phase fluid loop used to transport heat in and out of the electronics boxes inside the rover chassis, performed better than predicted. Steady state and transient data were collected to allow correlation of analytical thermal models. These thermal models were subsequently used to predict rover thermal performance for the MSL Gale Crater landing site. Models predict that critical hardware temperatures will be maintained within allowable flight limits over the entire 669 Sol surface mission.

  9. Wide Range Vacuum Pumps for the SAM Instrument on the MSL Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sorensen, Paul; Kline-Schoder, Robert; Farley, Rodger

    2014-01-01

    Creare Incorporated and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed and space qualified two wide range pumps (WRPs) that were included in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument. This instrument was subsequently integrated into the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) "Curiosity Rover," launched aboard an Atlas V rocket in 2011, and landed on August 6, 2012, in the Gale Crater on Mars. The pumps have now operated for more than 18 months in the Gale Crater and have been evacuating the key components of the SAM instrument: a quadrupole mass spectrometer, a tunable laser spectrometer, and six gas chromatograph columns. In this paper, we describe the main design challenges and the ways in which they were solved. This includes the custom design of a miniaturized, high-speed motor to drive the turbo drag pump rotor, analysis of rotor dynamics for super critical operation, and bearing/lubricant design/selection.

  10. Investigation of a Major Stratigraphic Unconformity with the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, K. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Rubin, D. M.

    2015-12-01

    Since its departure from the plains of Aeolis Palus, the Curiosity rover has traversed through a number of new geologic units at the base of Mount Sharp in Gale crater. These have included both units inferred to comprise the lower strata of Mount Sharp itself, along with units that appear to superpose Mount Sharp. Over the last 100 sols, Curiosity has documented several occurrences of a stratigraphic contact between fine-grained mudstones of the Murray Formation, and coarser sandstones of the overlying Stimson Unit. Detailed mapping from both orbital and rover image and topographic data suggests an unconformable relationship between the two units. From orbit, inferred exposures of the unconformity span at least several tens of meters, climbing up the lowermost slopes of Mount Sharp. Although the absolute timing of the two units is poorly constrained, this unconformity between likely represents a geologically significant gap in time. Deposition of the overlying Stimson Unit is inferred to post-date the large-scale erosion of Mount Sharp, likely requiring late stage aqueous interaction in the lithification of the Stimson Unit. From the rover, stereo imaging reveals the small-scale topography preserved at the Murray-Stimson contact, and allows the determination of bedding geometries within the units. Where laminations are expressed, the basal Mount Sharp rocks exhibit planar stratification at low angles to horizontal. In contrast, the coarser-grained Stimson Unit exhibits large-scale cross stratification. Three dimensional bedding geometry within this unit indicates a predominant southward transport direction uphill towards Mount Sharp. The observation of rounded calcium sulfate clasts in the lowermost Stimson Unit, interpreted to be reworked veins from the underlying Murray formation, supports the interpretation of an erosional unconformity. Investigations at the boundary between these two distinct units present a unique opportunity to probe the long

  11. Enhanced Engineering Cameras (EECAMs) for the Mars 2020 Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maki, J. N.; McKinney, C. M.; Sellar, R. G.; Copley-Woods, D. S.; Gruel, D. C.; Nuding, D. L.; Valvo, M.; Goodsall, T.; McGuire, J.; Litwin, T. E.

    2016-10-01

    The Mars 2020 Rover will be equipped with a next-generation engineering camera imaging system that represents an upgrade over the previous Mars rover engineering cameras flown on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission and the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission.

  12. Mars Exploration Rover thermal test program overview

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pauken, Michael T.; Kinsella, Gary; Novak, Keith; Tsuyuki, Glenn

    2004-01-01

    In January 2004, two Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) landed on the surface of Mars to begin their mission as robotic geologists. A year prior to these historic landings, both rovers and the spacecraft that delivered them to Mars, were completing a series of environmental tests in facilities at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This paper describes the test program undertaken to validate the thermal design and verify the workmanship integrity of both rovers and the spacecraft. The spacecraft, which contained the rover within the aeroshell, were tested in a 7.5 m diameter thermal vacuum chamber. Thermal balance was performed for the near earth (hot case) condition and for the near Mars (cold case) condition. A solar simulator was used to provide the solar boundary condition on the solar array. IR lamps were used to simulate the solar heat load on the aeroshell for the off-sun attitudes experienced by the spacecraft during its cruise to Mars. Each rover was tested separately in a 3.0 m diameter thermal vacuum chamber over conditions simulating the warmest and coldest expected Mars diurnal temperature cycles. The environmental tests were conducted in a quiescent nitrogen atmosphere at a pressure of 8 to 10 Torr. In addition to thermal balance testing, the science instruments on board the rovers were tested successfully in the extreme environmental conditions anticipated for the mission. A solar simulator was not used in these tests.

  13. LED minilidar for Mars rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shiina, Tatsuo; Yamada, Sonoko; Senshu, Hiroki; Otobe, Naohito; Hashimoto, George; Kawabata, Yasuhiro

    2016-10-01

    A mini-lidar to observe the activity of Martian atmosphere is developed. The 10cm-cube LED mini-lidar was designed to be onboard a Mars rover. The light source of the mini-lidar is a high powered LED of 385nm. LED was adopted as light source because of its toughness against circumference change and physical shock for launch. The pulsed power and the pulse repetition frequency of LED beam were designed as 0.75W (=7.5nJ/10ns) and 500kHz, respectively. Lidar echoes were caught by the specially designed Cassegrain telescope, which has the shorter telescope tube than the usual to meet the 10cm-cube size limit. The high-speed photon counter was developed to pursue to the pulse repetition frequency of the LED light. The measurement range is no shorter than 30m depending back-ground condition. Its spatial resolution was improved as 0.15m (=1ns) by this photon counter. The demonstrative experiment was conducted at large wind tunnel facility of Japan Meteorological Agency. The measurement target was smoke of glycerin particles. The smoke was flowed in the wind tunnel with wind speed of 0 - 5m. Smoke diffusion and its propagation due to the wind flow were observed by the LED mini-lidar. This result suggests that the developed lidar can pursue the structure and the motion of dust devil of >2m.

  14. On Mars Exploration Rovers - Spirit and Opportunity

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    李颖; 吴文忠

    2004-01-01

    NASA's twin Mars exploration rovers, now named Spirit and Opportunity, are designed to study the history of water on Mars. These robotic geologists are equipped with a robotic arm, a drilling tool, three spectrometers, and four pairs of cameras that allow them to have a human-like, 3D view of the terrain. Each rover could travel as far as 100 meters in one day to act as Mars scientists eyes and hands, exploring an environment where humans can't yet go.

  15. Calcium Sulfate Characterized by ChemCam/Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nachon, M.; Clegg, S. N.; Mangold, N.; Schroeder, S.; Kah, L. C.; Dromart, G.; Ollila, A.; Johnson, J. R.; Oehler, D. Z.; Bridges, J. C.; LeMouelic, S.; Forni, O.; Wiens, R. C.; Rapin, W.; Anderson, R. B.; Blaney, D. L.; Bell, J. F. , III; Clark, B.; Cousin, A.; Dyar, M. D.; Ehlmann, B.; Fabre, C.; Gasnault, O.; Grotzinger, J.; Lasue, J.; Lewin, E.; Leveille, R.; McLennan, S.; Maurice, S.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Rice, M.; Squyres, S. W.; Stack, K.; Sumner, D. Y.; Vaniman, D.; Wellington, D.

    2014-01-01

    Onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover, the ChemCam instrument consists of :(1) a Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) for elemental analysis of the targets [1;2] and (2) a Remote Micro Imager (RMI), for the imaging context of laser analysis [3]. Within the Gale crater, Curiosity traveled from Bradbury Landing through the Rocknest region and into Yellowknife Bay (YB). In the latter, abundant light-toned fracture-fill material were seen [4;5]. ChemCam analysis demonstrate that those fracture fills consist of calcium sulfates [6].

  16. Robotic Arm and Rover Actuator Systems for Mars Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reid, L.; Brawn, D.; Noon, D.

    1999-01-01

    Missions such as the Sojourner Rover, the Robotic Arm for Mars Polar Lander, and the 2003 Mars Rover, Athena, use numerous actuators that must operate reliably in extreme environments for long periods of time.

  17. Mars Exploration Rover Heat Shield Recontact Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raiszadeh, Behzad; Desai, Prasun N.; Michelltree, Robert

    2011-01-01

    The twin Mars Exploration Rover missions landed successfully on Mars surface in January of 2004. Both missions used a parachute system to slow the rover s descent rate from supersonic to subsonic speeds. Shortly after parachute deployment, the heat shield, which protected the rover during the hypersonic entry phase of the mission, was jettisoned using push-off springs. Mission designers were concerned about the heat shield recontacting the lander after separation, so a separation analysis was conducted to quantify risks. This analysis was used to choose a proper heat shield ballast mass to ensure successful separation with low probability of recontact. This paper presents the details of such an analysis, its assumptions, and the results. During both landings, the radar was able to lock on to the heat shield, measuring its distance, as it descended away from the lander. This data is presented and is used to validate the heat shield separation/recontact analysis.

  18. Calcium Sulfate Vein Observations at Yellowknife Bay using ChemCam on the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clegg, S. M.; Mangold, N.; Nachon, M.; Le Mouelic, S.; Ollila, A.; Vaniman, D. T.; Kah, L. C.; Dromart, G.; Bridges, J.; Rice, M. S.; Wellington, D. F.; Bell, J. F.; Anderson, R. B.; Clark, B. C.; Cousin, A.; Forni, O.; Lasue, J.; Schröder, S.; Meslin, P.; Dyar, M. D.; Blaney, D. L.; Maurice, S.; Wiens, R. C.; Team, M.

    2013-12-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover completed its traverse from the Bradbury landing site into Yellowknife Bay (YKB) on sol 125, where it spent ~175 sols. The YKB region is characterized as a fluvio-lacustrine depositional environment. The entire Curiosity payload was used to thoroughly investigate parts of YKB from which significant geochemical observations were made, including the identification of anhydrite and hydrated calcium sulfate. The Curiosity ChemCam package consists of a remote Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) and a Remote Micro-Imager (RMI). LIBS is essentially an elemental analysis micro-probe capable of 300 - 550 μm spatial resolution from 1.5 - 7.0 m standoff distance from the Curiosity mast. The RMI records context images that have a resolution of 40 μrad, which corresponds to 120 μm at 3 meters. The ChemCam instrument recorded many calcium rich geochemical features as it descended ~18 m into YKB. Many light-toned veins became apparent with the ChemCam RMI and Mastcam once Curiosity entered YKB. The ChemCam LIBS instrument is uniquely capable of distinctly probing the elemental composition of these vein structures separately from the host rock. LIBS demonstrated that the white vein material was dominated by CaSO4, while the host rock had relatively low SO3 compositions. The ChemCam instrument can also qualitatively detect H, presumably due to H2O, in many samples. While some of these veins contained no H signature beyond the ubiquitous small amount of H on rock surfaces and in soils, some of the veins contained various amounts of H as a function of depth indicating that some of the samples were either bassanite or gypsum. Mastcam spectral hydration surveys detect evidence of hydration that is consistent with (but not a unique indicator of) the presence of gypsum in some, but not all, of the veins. The CheMin X-ray diffraction instrument identified both anhydrite and bassanite in the matrix of a mudstone unit but did not detect

  19. Supporting Increased Autonomy for a Mars Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estlin, Tara; Castano, Rebecca; Gaines, Dan; Bornstein, Ben; Judd, Michele; Anderson, Robert C.; Nesnas, Issa

    2008-01-01

    This paper presents an architecture and a set of technology for performing autonomous science and commanding for a planetary rover. The MER rovers have outperformed all expectations by lasting over 1100 sols (or Martian days), which is an order of magnitude longer than their original mission goal. The longevity of these vehicles will have significant effects on future mission goals, such as objectives for the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission (scheduled to fly in 2009) and the Astrobiology Field Lab rover mission (scheduled to potentially fly in 2016). Common objectives for future rover missions to Mars include the handling of opportunistic science, long-range or multi-sol driving, and onboard fault diagnosis and recovery. To handle these goals, a number of new technologies have been developed and integrated as part of the CLARAty architecture. CLARAty is a unified and reusable robotic architecture that was designed to simplify the integration, testing and maturation of robotic technologies for future missions. This paper focuses on technology comprising the CLARAty Decision Layer, which was designed to support and validate high-level autonomy technologies, such as automated planning and scheduling and onboard data analysis.

  20. Diagenetic Features Analyzed by ChemCam/Curiosity at Pahrump Hills, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nachon, M.; Mangold, N.; Cousin, A.; Forni, O.; Anderson, R. B.; Blank, J. G.; Calef, F.; Clegg, S.; Fabre, C.; Fisk, M.; Gasnault, O.; Kah, L. C.; Kronyak, R.; Lasue, J.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Le Mouelic, S.; Maurice, S.; Oehler, D. Z.; Payre, V.; Rapin, W.; Sumner, D.; Stack, K.; Schroeder, S.; Wiens, R. C.

    2015-01-01

    Onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover, the ChemCam instrument consists of : (1) a Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) for elemental analysis of targets and (2) a Remote Micro Imager (RMI), which provides imaging context for the LIBS. The LIBS/ChemCam performs analysis typically of spot sizes 350-550 micrometers in diameter, up to 7 meters from the rover. Within Gale crater, Curiosity traveled from Bradbury Landing toward the base of Mount Sharp, reaching Pahrump Hills outcrop circa sol 750. This region, as seen from orbit, represents the first exposures of lower Mount Sharp. In this abstract we focus on two types of features present within the Pahrump Hills outcrop: concretion features and light-toned veins.

  1. A computational system for a Mars rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lambert, Kenneth E.

    1989-01-01

    This paper presents an overview of an onboard computing system that can be used for meeting the computational needs of a Mars rover. The paper begins by presenting an overview of some of the requirements which are key factors affecting the architecture. The rest of the paper describes the architecture. Particular emphasis is placed on the criteria used in defining the system and how the system qualitatively meets the criteria.

  2. Mars Rover Curriculum: Impact Assessment and Evaluation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A., III; Carlson, C.; Nieser, K.; Slagle, E. M.; Jacobs, L. T.; Kapral, A. J.

    2014-12-01

    The University of Houston is in the process of developing a flexible program that offers children an in-depth educational experience culminating in the design and construction of their own model Mars rover: the Mars Rover Model Celebration (MRC). It focuses on students, teachers and parents in grades 3-8. Students design and build a model of a Mars rover to carry out a student selected science mission on the surface of Mars. A total of 140 Mars Rover teachers from the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 cohorts were invited to complete the Mars Rover Teacher Evaluation Survey. The survey was administered online and could be taken at the convenience of the participant. So far ~40 teachers have participated with responses still coming in. A total of 675 students from the 2013-2014 cohort were invited to submit brief self-assessments of their participation in the program. Teachers were asked to rate their current level of confidence in their ability to teach specific topics within the Earth and Life Science realms, as well as their confidence in their ability to implement teaching strategies with their students. The majority of teachers (81-90%) felt somewhat to very confident in their ability to effectively teach concepts related to earth and life sciences to their students. In addition, many of the teachers felt that their confidence in teaching these concepts increased somewhat to quite a bit as a result of their participation in the MRC program (54-88%). The most striking increase in this area was the reported 48% of teachers who felt their confidence in teaching "Earth and the solar system and universe" increased "Quite a bit" as a result of their participation in the MRC program. The vast majority of teachers (86-100%) felt somewhat to very confident in their ability to effectively implement all of the listed teaching strategies. The most striking increases were the percentage of teachers who felt their confidence increased "Quite a bit" as a result of their participation

  3. Requirements and Designs for Mars Rover RTGs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schock, Alfred; Shirbacheh, M; Sankarankandath, V

    2012-01-19

    The current-generation RTGs (both GPHS and MOD) are designed for operation in a vacuum environment. The multifoil thermal insulation used in those RTGs only functions well in a good vacuum. Current RTGs are designed to operate with an inert cover gas before launch, and to be vented to space vacuum after launch. Both RTGs are sealed with a large number of metallic C-rings. Those seals are adequate for retaining the inert-gas overpressure during short-term launch operations, but would not be adequate to prevent intrusion of the Martian atmospheric gases during long-term operations there. Therefore, for the Mars Rover application, those RTGs just be modified to prevent the buildup of significant pressures of Mars atmosphere or of helium (from alpha decay of the fuel). In addition, a Mars Rover RTG needs to withstand a long-term dynamic environment that is much more severe than that seen by an RTG on an orbiting spacecraft or on a stationary planetary lander. This paper describes a typical Rover mission, its requirements, the environment it imposes on the RTG, and a design approach for making the RTG operable in such an environment. Specific RTG designs for various thermoelectric element alternatives are presented.; Reference CID #9268 and CID #9276.

  4. Interannual, seasonal and diurnal Mars surface environmental cycles observed from Viking to Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martinez, German; Vicente-Retortillo, Álvaro; Kemppinen, Osku; Fischer, Erik; Fairen, Alberto G.; Guzewich, Scott David; Haberle, Robert; Lemmon, Mark T.; Newman, Claire E.; Renno, Nilton O.; Richardson, Mark I.; Smith, Michael D.; De la Torre, Manuel; Vasavada, Ashwin R.

    2016-10-01

    We analyze in-situ environmental data from the Viking landers to the Curiosity rover to estimate atmospheric pressure, near-surface air and ground temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and dust opacity with the highest confidence possible. We study the interannual, seasonal and diurnal variability of these quantities at the various landing sites over a span of more than twenty Martian years to characterize the climate on Mars and its variability. Additionally, we characterize the radiative environment at the various landing sites by estimating the daily UV irradiation (also called insolation and defined as the total amount of solar UV energy received on flat surface during one sol) and by analyzing its interannual and seasonal variability.In this study we use measurements conducted by the Viking Meteorology Instrument System (VMIS) and Viking lander camera onboard the Viking landers (VL); the Atmospheric Structure Instrument/Meteorology (ASIMET) package and the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) onboard the Mars Pathfinder (MPF) lander; the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) and Pancam instruments onboard the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER); the Meteorological Station (MET), Thermal Electrical Conductivity Probe (TECP) and Phoenix Surface Stereo Imager (SSI) onboard the Phoenix (PHX) lander; and the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and Mastcam instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover.A thorough analysis of in-situ environmental data from past and present missions is important to aid in the selection of the Mars 2020 landing site. We plan to extend our analysis of Mars surface environmental cycles by using upcoming data from the Temperature and Wind sensors (TWINS) instrument onboard the InSight mission and the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) instrument onboard the Mars 2020 mission.

  5. Design of a Mars rover and sample return mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourke, Roger D.; Kwok, Johnny H.; Friedlander, Alan

    1990-01-01

    The design of a Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission that satisfies scientific and human exploration precursor needs is described. Elements included in the design include an imaging rover that finds and certifies safe landing sites and maps rover traverse routes, a rover that operates the surface with an associated lander for delivery, and a Mars communications orbiter that allows full-time contact with surface elements. A graph of MRSR candidate launch vehice performances is presented.

  6. The Mars atmosphere as seen from Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mischna, Michael

    Study of the Mars atmosphere by the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) has been ongoing since immediately after landing on August 6, 2012 (UTC) at the bottom of Gale Crater. The MSL Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) has been the primary payload for atmospheric monitoring, while additional observations from the ChemCam, Mastcam, Navcam and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments have augmented our understanding of the local martian environment at Gale. The REMS instrument consists of six separate sensor types, observing air and ground temperature, near-surface winds, relative humidity, surface pressure and UV radiation. The standard cadence of REMS observations consists of five-minute observations of 1 Hz frequency at the top of each hour, augmented by several one-hour “extended blocks” each sol, also at 1 Hz frequency, together yielding one of the most richly diverse and detailed samplings of the martian atmosphere. Among the intriguing atmospheric phenomena observed during the first 359 sols of the mission is a substantially greater (˜12% of the diurnal mean) diurnal pressure cycle than found in previous surface measurements by Viking at a similar season (˜3-4%), likely due to the topography of the crater environment. Measurements of air and ground temperature by REMS are seen to reflect both changes in atmospheric opacity as well as transitions in the surface geology (and surface thermal properties) along the rover’s traverse. The REMS UV sensor has provided the first measurements of ultraviolet flux at the martian surface, and identified dust events that reduce solar insolation at the surface. The REMS RH sensor has observed a seasonal change in humidity in addition to the expected diurnal variations in relative humidity; however, no surface frost has been detected through the first 360 sols of the mission. With a weekly cadence, Navcam images the local zenith for purposes of tracking cloud motion and wind direction, and likewise observes the

  7. The Ancient Habitability of Gale Crater, Mars, after Four Years of Exploration by Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Mars Science Laboratory Science Team

    2016-10-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover landed in August 2012 with the goal of assessing the habitability of environments dating from the Noachian-Hesperian boundary, a time when Mars was undergoing a major climatic change from wetter to drier conditions. The stratified and mineralogically diverse foothills of Gale crater's central mound, Aeolis Mons, retain a record of this key period. Prior to reaching Aeolis Mons, ancient habitable environments were found on the surrounding plains. At Yellowknife Bay, geological, geochemical, and mineralogical analyses of the lacustrine Sheepbed mudstone indicated a near-neutral pH and low salinity environment with the key chemical elements required by life and potential sources of energy to fuel microbial metabolism. As the rover traversed across the plains, evidence for ancient fluvial and deltaic systems pointed toward the hypothesis that lower Aeolis Mons was built up from sediments deposited within a series of lakes that once filled the central basin of the crater. Upon reaching the mountain in September 2014, Curiosity found an array of fluvial, lacustrine, and aeolian strata that also show a complex pattern of post-depositional alteration. The basal outcrops that form the lowest stratigraphic unit of Aeolis Mons, the Murray formation, are characterized predominantly by mudstones with minor intercalated sandstones. The mudstone facies show abundant fine-scale planar laminations throughout the Murray formation succession and are interpreted to record deposition in an ancient lacustrine system in Gale crater. Curiosity has explored 40 m of the ~ 200-m thick Murray formation. If the entire section is lacustrine, it would imply that lakes were stable in Gale crater over a period of at least millions of years, challenging present climate models that cannot account for the temperate and humid conditions needed to sustain long-lived open lakes on early Mars. This presentation will review how Curiosity's geological and

  8. Mimicking Martian dust: An in-vacuum dust deposition system for testing the ultraviolet sensors on the Curiosity rover

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sobrado, J. M., E-mail: sobradovj@inta.es; Martín-Soler, J. [Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), INTA-CSIC, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid (Spain); Martín-Gago, J. A. [Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), INTA-CSIC, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid (Spain); Instituto de Ciencias de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM–CSIC), Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)

    2015-10-15

    We have designed and developed an in-vacuum dust deposition system specifically conceived to simulate and study the effect of accumulation of Martian dust on the electronic instruments of scientific planetary exploration missions. We have used this device to characterize the dust effect on the UV sensor of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station in the Mars science Laboratory mission of NASA in similar conditions to those found on Mars surface. The UV sensor includes six photodiodes for measuring the radiation in all UV wavelengths (direct incidence and reflected); it is placed on the body of Curiosity rover and it is severely affected by the dust deposited on it. Our experimental setup can help to estimate the duration of reliable reading of this instrument during operation. We have used an analogous of the Martian dust in chemical composition (magnetic species), color, and density, which has been characterized by X-ray spectroscopy. To ensure a Brownian motion of the dust during its fall and a homogeneous coverage on the instrumentation, the operating conditions of the vacuum vessel, determined by partial pressures and temperature, have to be modified to account for the different gravities of Mars with respect to Earth. We propose that our designed device and operational protocol can be of interest to test optoelectronic instrumentation affected by the opacity of dust, as can be the degradation of UV photodiodes in planetary exploration.

  9. The Athena Mars Rover Science Payload

    Science.gov (United States)

    Squyes, S. W.; Arvidson, R.; Bell, J. F., III; Carr, M.; Christensen, P.; DesMarais, D.; Economou, T.; Gorevan, S.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Haskin, L.

    1998-01-01

    The Mars Surveyor missions that will be launched in April of 2001 will include a highly capable rover that is a successor to the Mars Pathfinder mission's Sojourner rover. The design goals for this rover are a total traverse distance of at least 10 km and a total lifetime of at least one Earth year. The rover's job will be to explore a site in Mars' ancient terrain, searching for materials likely to preserve a record of ancient martian water, climate, and possibly biology. The rover will collect rock and soil samples, and will store them for return to Earth by a subsequent Mars Surveyor mission in 2005. The Athena Mars rover science payload is the suite of scientific instruments and sample collection tools that will be used to perform this job. The specific science objectives that NASA has identified for the '01 rover payload are to: (1) Provide color stereo imaging of martian surface environments, and remotely-sensed point discrimination of mineralogical composition. (2) Determine the elemental and mineralogical composition of martian surface materials. (3) Determine the fine-scale textural properties of these materials. (4) Collect and store samples. The Athena payload has been designed to meet these objectives. The focus of the design is on field operations: making sure the rover can locate, characterize, and collect scientifically important samples in a dusty, dirty, real-world environment. The topography, morphology, and mineralogy of the scene around the rover will be revealed by Pancam/Mini-TES, an integrated imager and IR spectrometer. Pancam views the surface around the rover in stereo and color. It uses two high-resolution cameras that are identical in most respects to the rover's navigation cameras. The detectors are low-power, low-mass active pixel sensors with on-chip 12-bit analog-to-digital conversion. Filters provide 8-12 color spectral bandpasses over the spectral region from 0.4 to 1.1 micron Narrow-angle optics provide an angular resolution of 0

  10. The Athena Mars Rover Science Payload

    Science.gov (United States)

    Squyes, S. W.; Arvidson, R.; Bell, J. F., III; Carr, M.; Christensen, P.; DesMarais, D.; Economou, T.; Gorevan, S.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Haskin, L.

    1998-01-01

    The Mars Surveyor missions that will be launched in April of 2001 will include a highly capable rover that is a successor to the Mars Pathfinder mission's Sojourner rover. The design goals for this rover are a total traverse distance of at least 10 km and a total lifetime of at least one Earth year. The rover's job will be to explore a site in Mars' ancient terrain, searching for materials likely to preserve a record of ancient martian water, climate, and possibly biology. The rover will collect rock and soil samples, and will store them for return to Earth by a subsequent Mars Surveyor mission in 2005. The Athena Mars rover science payload is the suite of scientific instruments and sample collection tools that will be used to perform this job. The specific science objectives that NASA has identified for the '01 rover payload are to: (1) Provide color stereo imaging of martian surface environments, and remotely-sensed point discrimination of mineralogical composition. (2) Determine the elemental and mineralogical composition of martian surface materials. (3) Determine the fine-scale textural properties of these materials. (4) Collect and store samples. The Athena payload has been designed to meet these objectives. The focus of the design is on field operations: making sure the rover can locate, characterize, and collect scientifically important samples in a dusty, dirty, real-world environment. The topography, morphology, and mineralogy of the scene around the rover will be revealed by Pancam/Mini-TES, an integrated imager and IR spectrometer. Pancam views the surface around the rover in stereo and color. It uses two high-resolution cameras that are identical in most respects to the rover's navigation cameras. The detectors are low-power, low-mass active pixel sensors with on-chip 12-bit analog-to-digital conversion. Filters provide 8-12 color spectral bandpasses over the spectral region from 0.4 to 1.1 micron Narrow-angle optics provide an angular resolution of 0

  11. Rover: Autonomous concepts for Mars exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baiget, A.; Castets, B.; Chochon, H.; Hayard, M.; Lamarre, H.; Lamothe, A.

    1993-01-01

    The development of a mobile, autonomous vehicle that will be launched towards an unknown planet is considered. The rover significant constraints are: Ariane 5 compatibility, Earth/Mars transfer capability, 1000 km autonomous moving in Mars environment, on board localization, and maximum science capability. Two different types of subsystem were considered: classical subsystems (mechanical and mechanisms, thermal, telecommunications, power, onboard data processing) and robotics subsystem, (perception/navigation, autonomous displacement generation, autonomous localization). The needs of each subsystem were studied in terms of energy and data handling capability, in order to choose an on board architecture which best use the available capability, by means of specialized parts. A compromise must always be done between every subsystem in order to obtain the real need with respect to the goal, for example: between perception/navigation and the motion capability. A compromise must also be found between mechanical assembly and calibration need, which is a real problem.

  12. Sandstone Diagenesis at Gale Crater, Mars, As Observed By Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siebach, K. L.; Grotzinger, J. P.; McLennan, S. M.; Hurowitz, J.; Kah, L. C.; Edgett, K. S.; Williams, R. M. E.; Wiens, R. C.; Schieber, J.

    2014-12-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, has encountered a significant number of poorly-sorted and very well-lithified sandstones along its traverse on the floor of Gale Crater. We use images from the hand-lens imager (MAHLI) and elemental chemistry from the ChemCam laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy instrument (LIBS) and the alpha-particle x-ray spectrometer (APXS) to begin to constrain the diagenetic history of these sandstones, including lithification and possible later dissolution. Investigation of MAHLI images reveals that the sediments are poorly-sorted and show very low apparent porosity, generally less than ~5%. However, in some cases, such as the Gillespie Lake sandstone identified in Yellowknife Bay, this apparent porosity includes a significant fraction of void spaces larger than typical sediment grain sizes (~30% by number or 75% of void spaces by area). One possible explanation of these larger pits is that they represent recent removal of soft intraclasts by eolian abrasion. Another possibility is that later diagenetic fluids caused dissolution of more soluble grains, and production of secondary porosity. Investigation into the elemental chemistry of the sandstones has shown that they have a relatively unaltered basaltic bulk composition in spite of possessing a variety of secondary minerals and amorphous material, indicating isochemical diagenetic processes. The chemistry and mineralogy of the cement is not immediately evident based on the initial analyses; there is not a high percentage of salts or evaporative minerals that may easily cement near-surface sandstones. Furthermore, these sandstones lack textures and compositions consistent with pedogenic processes, such as calcrete, silcrete, or ferricrete. Instead, they may record burial and cementation at depth. Cement composition may be constrained through comparison to terrestrial basaltic sandstones, and studying chemical variations along ChemCam and APXS transects of the rocks.

  13. Zapping rocks on Mars: exploring the Red Planet with Curiosity and its laser (Presentation Video)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiens, Roger C.

    2013-09-01

    When the one-ton Curiosity Rover landed on Mars in 2012, one of the ten instruments was a joint French and US-built laser remote sensing device. ChemCam ablates small amounts of rock and soil up to 25 feet away to determine their compositions by observing the plasma emission from a minute 0.5 mm analysis footprint. This "LIBS" technique provides semi-quantitative compositions with sensitivity to nearly every element in the periodic table, and with the important abilities to blast dust away prior to a rock analysis and to perform depth profiles with successive shots in one spot. Over 40,000 spectra have been returned in the first seven months of the mission. The talk will describe ChemCam and give an overview of the initial part of Curiosity's mission.

  14. Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stack, K. M.; Edwards, C. S.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Sumner, D. Y.; Calef, F. J.; Edgar, L. A.; Edgett, K. S.; Fraeman, A. A.; Jacob, S. R.; Le Deit, L.; Lewis, K. W.; Rice, M. S.; Rubin, D.; Williams, R. M. E.; Williford, K. H.

    2016-12-01

    This study provides the first systematic comparison of orbital facies maps with detailed ground-based geology observations from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover to examine the validity of geologic interpretations derived from orbital image data. Orbital facies maps were constructed for the Darwin, Cooperstown, and Kimberley waypoints visited by the Curiosity rover using High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images. These maps, which represent the most detailed orbital analysis of these areas to date, were compared with rover image-based geologic maps and stratigraphic columns derived from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Results show that bedrock outcrops can generally be distinguished from unconsolidated surficial deposits in high-resolution orbital images and that orbital facies mapping can be used to recognize geologic contacts between well-exposed bedrock units. However, process-based interpretations derived from orbital image mapping are difficult to infer without known regional context or observable paleogeomorphic indicators, and layer-cake models of stratigraphy derived from orbital maps oversimplify depositional relationships as revealed from a rover perspective. This study also shows that fine-scale orbital image-based mapping of current and future Mars landing sites is essential for optimizing the efficiency and science return of rover surface operations.

  15. Geologic overview of the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission at the Kimberley, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, Melissa S.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Treiman, Allan H.; Stack, Kathryn M.; Calef, Fred; Edgar, Lauren A.; Grotzinger, John; Lanza, Nina; Le Deit, Laetitia; Lasue, Jeremie; Siebach, Kirsten L.; Vasavada, Ashwin; Wiens, Roger C.; Williams, Joshua

    2017-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover completed a detailed investigation at the Kimberley waypoint within Gale crater from sols 571-634 using its full science instrument payload. From orbital images examined early in the Curiosity mission, the Kimberley region had been identified as a high-priority science target based on its clear stratigraphic relationships in a layered sedimentary sequence that had been exposed by differential erosion. Observations of the stratigraphic sequence at the Kimberley made by Curiosity are consistent with deposition in a prograding, fluvio-deltaic system during the late Noachian to early Hesperian, prior to the existence of most of Mount Sharp. Geochemical and mineralogic analyses suggest that sediment deposition likely took place under cold conditions with relatively low water-to-rock ratios. Based on elevated K2O abundances throughout the Kimberley formation, an alkali feldspar protolith is likely one of several igneous sources from which the sediments were derived. After deposition, the rocks underwent multiple episodes of diagenetic alteration with different aqueous chemistries and redox conditions, as evidenced by the presence of Ca-sulfate veins, Mn-oxide fracture fills, and erosion-resistant nodules. More recently, the Kimberley has been subject to significant aeolian abrasion and removal of sediments to create modern topography that slopes away from Mount Sharp, a process that has continued to the present day.

  16. Origin of Chlorobenzene Detected by the Curiosity Rover in Yellowknife Bay: Evidence for Martian Organics in the Sheepbed Mudstone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glavin, D.; Freissnet, C.; Eigenbrode, J.; Miller, K.; Martin, M.; Summons, R. E.; Steele, A.; Archer, D.; Brunner, A.; Buch, A.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Conrad, P.; Coscia, D.; Dworkin, J.; Grotzinger, J.; Mahaffy, P.; McKay, C.; Ming, D.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Sutter, B.; Szopa, C.; Teinturier, S.

    2014-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity rover is designed to determine the inventory of organic and inorganic volatiles thermally evolved from solid samples using a combination of evolved gas analysis (EGA), gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS), and tunable laser spectroscopy. Here we discuss the SAM EGA and GCMS measurements of volatiles released from the Sheepbed mudstone. We focus primarily on the elevated CBZ detections at CB and laboratory analog experiments conducted to help determine if CBZ is derived from primarily terrestrial, martian, or a combination of sources. Here we discuss the SAM EGA and GCMS measurements of volatiles released from the Sheepbed mudstone. We focus primarily on the elevated CBZ detections at CB and laboratory analog experiments conducted to help determine if CBZ is derived from primarily terrestrial, martian, or a combination of sources.

  17. Winds measured by the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) during Curiosity's Bagnold Dunes Campaign

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newman, Claire E.; Gomez-Elvira, Javier; Navarro Lopez, Sara; Marin Jimenez, Mercedes; Torres Redondo, Josefina; Richardson, Mark I.

    2016-10-01

    Curiosity's damaged wind sensor has trouble measuring winds coming from behind the rover, due to the loss of its side-pointing boom during landing. During the Bagnold Dunes Campaign, however, the rover was turned to permit measurements of winds from missing directions, capturing upslope/downslope day-night flow on the slopes of Aeolis Mons and blocking of wind in the lee of a dune.The rover's heading is generally determined by the drive direction and often varies little over many tens of sols. Good wind measurements are made when the wind comes from the hemisphere to the front of the rover, but there are sometimes long periods during which winds from certain directions (i.e., at certain times of sol) are largely missed. Since rover turns are often precluded by rover safety and other operational constraints, it is usually not possible to turn to measure such winds properly.During the Bagnold Dunes Campaign, wind measurements were prioritized to provide context for aeolian dune studies. Rover headings were optimized for three wind investigations covering a period of about 90 sols. The first investigation characterized the wind field on approach to the dunes, with the rover turned to face two unusual headings for several sols each and monitoring focused on the 'missing' winds / times of sol. This confirmed the expected primary wind pattern of daytime roughly upslope winds (from ~NW/N) and nighttime downslope winds (from ~S/SE) on the slopes of Aeolis Mons, with significant sol-to-sol variability in e.g. the timing of the reversals. Comparison with the previous year suggests an increasingly upslope-downslope pattern as Curiosity approached the slope.The second investigation studied changes to the wind pattern in the lee of the Namib Dune. This revealed the blocking of northerly winds by the large dune, leaving primarily a westerly component to the daytime winds with weaker wind speeds.The third investigation characterized the wind field at the side of Namib Dune. The

  18. Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI): Inital Observations and Activities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgett, K. S.; Yingst, R. A.; Minitti, M. E.; Robinson, M. L.; Kennedy, M. R.; Lipkaman, L. J.; Jensen, E. H.; Anderson, R. C.; Bean, K. M.; Beegle, L. W.; Carsten, J. L.; Collins, C. L.; Cooper, B.; Deen, R. G.; Gupta, S.

    2013-01-01

    MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager) is a 2-megapixel focusable macro lens color camera on the turret on Curiosity's robotic arm. The investigation centers on stratigraphy, grain-scale texture, structure, mineralogy, and morphology of geologic materials at Curiosity's Gale robotic field site. MAHLI acquires focused images at working distances of 2.1 cm to infinity; for reference, at 2.1 cm the scale is 14 microns/pixel; at 6.9 cm it is 31 microns/pixel, like the Spirit and Opportunity Microscopic Imager (MI) cameras.

  19. Mars rover rock abrasion tool performance enhanced by ultrasonic technology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macartney, A.; Li, X.; Harkness, P.

    2016-12-01

    The Mars exploration Athena science goal is to explore areas where water may have been present on the early surface of Mars, and investigate the palaeo-environmental conditions of these areas in relation to the existence of life. The Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) designed by Honeybee Robotics has been one of four key Athena science payload instruments mounted on the mechanical arm of the Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity Mars Exploration Rovers. Exposed rock surfaces weather and chemically alter over time. Although such weathered rock can present geological interest in itself, there is a limit to what can be learned. If the geological history of a landing site is to be constructed, then it is important to analyse the unweathered rock interior as clearly as possible. The rock abrasion tool's role is to substitute for a geologist's hammer, removing the weathered and chemically altered outer surface of rocks in order to view the pristine interior. The RAT uses a diamond resin standard common grinding technique, producing a 5mm depth grind with a relatively high surface roughness, achieved over a number of hours per grind and consumes approximately 11 watts of energy. This study assesses the benefits of using ultrasonic assisted grinding to improve surface smoothness. A prototype Micro-Optic UltraSonic Exfoliator (MOUSE) is tested on a range of rock types and demonstrates a number of advantages over the RAT. In addition to a smoother grind finish, these advantages include a lower rate of tool tip wear when using a tungsten carbide tip as opposed to diamond resin, less moving parts, a grind speed of minutes instead of hours, and a power consumption of only 1-5 Watts.

  20. Thermophysical properties along Curiosity's traverse in Gale crater, Mars, derived from the REMS ground temperature sensor

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Piqueux, Sylvain; Lewis, Kevin W.; Lemmon, Mark T.; Smith, Michael D.

    2017-03-01

    The REMS instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, has measured ground temperature nearly continuously at hourly intervals for two Mars years. Coverage of the entire diurnal cycle at 1 Hz is available every few martian days. We compare these measurements with predictions of surface-atmosphere thermal models to derive the apparent thermal inertia and thermally derived albedo along the rover's traverse after accounting for the radiative effects of atmospheric water ice during fall and winter, as is necessary to match the measured seasonal trend. The REMS measurements can distinguish between active sand, other loose materials, mudstone, and sandstone based on their thermophysical properties. However, the apparent thermal inertias of bedrock-dominated surfaces (∼350-550 J m-2 K-1 s-½) are lower than expected. We use rover imagery and the detailed shape of the diurnal ground temperature curve to explore whether lateral or vertical heterogeneity in the surface materials within the sensor footprint might explain the low inertias. We find that the bedrock component of the surface can have a thermal inertia as high as 650-1700 J m-2 K-1 s-½ for mudstone sites and ∼700 J m-2 K-1 s-½ for sandstone sites in models runs that include lateral and vertical mixing. Although the results of our forward modeling approach may be non-unique, they demonstrate the potential to extract information about lateral and vertical variations in thermophysical properties from temporally resolved measurements of ground temperature.

  1. Slip Validation and Prediction for Mars Exploration Rovers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeng Yen

    2008-04-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents a novel technique to validate and predict the rover slips on Martian surface for NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission (MER. Different from the traditional approach, the proposed method uses the actual velocity profile of the wheels and the digital elevation map (DEM from the stereo images of the terrain to formulate the equations of motion. The six wheel speed from the empirical encoder data comprises the vehicle's velocity, and the rover motion can be estimated using mixed differential and algebraic equations. Applying the discretization operator to these equations, the full kinematics state of the rover is then resolved by the configuration kinematics solution in the Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP. This method, with the proper wheel slip and sliding factors, produces accurate simulation of the Mars Exploration rovers, which have been validated with the earth-testing vehicle. This computational technique has been deployed to the operation of the MER rovers in the extended mission period. Particularly, it yields high quality prediction of the rover motion on high slope areas. The simulated path of the rovers has been validated using the telemetry from the onboard Visual Odometry (VisOdom. Preliminary results indicate that the proposed simulation is very effective in planning the path of the rovers on the high-slope areas.

  2. The Mars Exploration Rover Surface Mobility Flight Software: Driving Ambition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biesiadecki, Jeffrey J.; Maimone, Mark W.

    2006-01-01

    In this paper we describe the software that has driven these rovers more than a combined 11,000 meters over the Martian surface, including its design and implementation, and summarize current mobility performance results from Mars.

  3. Thermal Design Overview of the Mars Exploration Rover Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsuyuki, Glenn

    2001-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the thermal design for the Mars exploration rover project. It includes information on the spacecraft configuration, the cruise scenario, landing scenario, instrument package, thermal environment, and spacecraft schematics.

  4. First Gravity Traverse on the Martian Surface from the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, K. W.; Peters, S. F.; Gonter, K. A.; Vasavada, A. R.

    2016-12-01

    Orbital gravity surveys have been a key tool in understanding planetary interiors and shallow crustal structure, exemplified by recent missions such as GRAIL and Juno. However, due to the loss of spatial resolution with altitude, airborne and ground-based survey methods are typically employed on the Earth. Previously, the Lunar Traverse Gravimeter experiment on the Apollo 17 mission has been the only attempt to collect surface gravity measurements on another planetary body. We will describe the results of the first gravity survey on the Martian surface, using data from the Curiosity rover over its >10 km traverse across the floor of Gale crater and lower slopes of Mount Sharp. These results enable us to estimate bulk rock density, and to search for potential subsurface density anomalies. To measure local gravitational acceleration, we use one of the two onboard Rover Inertial Measurement Units (RIMU-A), designed for rover position and fine attitude determination. The IMU contains three-axis micro-electromechanical (MEMS) accelerometers and fiber-optic gyros, and is used for gyrocompassing by integrating data for several minutes on sols with no drive or arm motions (roughly 50% of sols to date). Raw acceleration data are calibrated for biases induced by temperature effects and rover orientation, along with rover elevation over the course of the mission using multiple regression. We use the best fit linear relationship between topographic height and gravitational acceleration to estimate a Bouguer correction for the observed change in magnitude over the mission as the rover has ascended over 100 meters up the lower slopes of Mount Sharp. We find a relatively low best-fit density of 1600 +/- 500 kg/m^3 for the rocks of Mount Sharp, consistent with rover-based measurements of thermal inertial, and potentially indicating pervasive fracturing, high porosity and/or low compaction within the original sediments at least to depths of order 100 meters. Future measurements

  5. Curiosity analyzes Martian soil samples

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy; Balcerak, Ernie

    2012-12-01

    NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has conducted its first analysis of Martian soil samples using multiple instruments, the agency announced at a 3 December news briefing at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco. "These results are an unprecedented look at the chemical diversity in the area," said NASA's Michael Meyer, program scientist for Curiosity.

  6. Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stack, Kathryn M.; Edwards, Christopher; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Sumner, D.; Edgar, Lauren; Fraeman, A.; Jacob, S.; LeDeit, L.; Lewis, K.W.; Rice, M.S.; Rubin, D.; Calef, F.; Edgett, K.; Williams, R.M.E.; Williford, K.H.

    2016-01-01

    This study provides the first systematic comparison of orbital facies maps with detailed ground-based geology observations from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover to examine the validity of geologic interpretations derived from orbital image data. Orbital facies maps were constructed for the Darwin, Cooperstown, and Kimberley waypoints visited by the Curiosity rover using High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images. These maps, which represent the most detailed orbital analysis of these areas to date, were compared with rover image-based geologic maps and stratigraphic columns derived from Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Results show that bedrock outcrops can generally be distinguished from unconsolidated surficial deposits in high-resolution orbital images and that orbital facies mapping can be used to recognize geologic contacts between well-exposed bedrock units. However, process-based interpretations derived from orbital image mapping are difficult to infer without known regional context or observable paleogeomorphic indicators, and layer-cake models of stratigraphy derived from orbital maps oversimplify depositional relationships as revealed from a rover perspective. This study also shows that fine-scale orbital image-based mapping of current and future Mars landing sites is essential for optimizing the efficiency and science return of rover surface operations.

  7. Visual Target Tracking on the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Won; Biesiadecki, Jeffrey; Ali, Khaled

    2008-01-01

    Visual target tracking (VTT) software has been incorporated into Release 9.2 of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) flight software, now running aboard the rovers Spirit and Opportunity. In the VTT operation (see figure), the rover is driven in short steps between stops and, at each stop, still images are acquired by actively aimed navigation cameras (navcams) on a mast on the rover (see artistic rendition). The VTT software processes the digitized navcam images so as to track a target reliably and to make it possible to approach the target accurately to within a few centimeters over a 10-m traverse.

  8. Potential Cement Phases in Sedimentary Rocks Drilled by Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rampe, E. B.; Morris, R. V.; Bish, D. L.; Chipera, S. J.; Ming, D. W.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Bristow, T. F.; Cavanagh, P.; Farmer, J. D.; Morrison, S. M.; Siebach, K.; Treiman, A. H.; Achilles, C. N.; Blaney, D.; Crisp, J. A.; Des Marais, D. J.; Downs, R. T.; Fendrich, K.; Martin-Torres, J.; Morookian, J. M.; Zorzano, M.-P.; Sarrazin, P.; Spanovich, N.; Yen, A. S.

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has encountered a variety of sedimentary rocks in Gale crater with different grain sizes, diagenetic features, sedimentary structures, and varying degrees of resistance to erosion. Curiosity has drilled three rocks to date and has analyzed the mineralogy, chemical composition, and textures of the samples with the science payload. The drilled rocks are the Sheepbed mudstone at Yellowknife Bay on the plains of Gale crater (John Klein and Cumberland targets), the Dillinger sandstone at the Kimberley on the plains of Gale crater (Windjana target), and a sedimentary unit in the Pahrump Hills in the lowermost rocks at the base of Mt. Sharp (Confidence Hills target). CheMin is the Xray diffractometer on Curiosity, and its data are used to identify and determine the abundance of mineral phases. Secondary phases can tell us about aqueous alteration processes and, thus, can help to elucidate past aqueous environments. Here, we present the secondary mineralogy of the rocks drilled to date as seen by CheMin and discuss past aqueous environments in Gale crater, the potential cementing agents in each rock, and how amorphous materials may play a role in cementing the sediments.

  9. Effect of the Presence of Chlorates and Perchlorates on the Pyrolysis of Organic Compounds: Implications for Measurements Done with the SAM Experiment Onboard the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Millan, M.; Szopa, C.; Buch, A.; Belmahdi, I.; Coll, P.; Glavin, D. P.; Freissinet, C.; Archer, P. D., Jr.; Sutter, B.; Summons, R. E.; Mahaffy, P.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover carries a suite of instruments, one of which is the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) experiment. SAM is devoted to the in situ molecular analysis of gases evolving from solid samples collected by Curiosity on Mars surface/sub-surface. Among its three analytical devices, SAM has a gaschromatograph coupled to a quadrupole mass spectrometer (GC-QMS). The GC-QMS is devoted to the separation and identification of organic and inorganic material. Before proceeding to the GC-QMS analysis, the solid sample collected by Curiosity is subjected to a thermal treatment thanks to the pyrolysis oven to release the volatiles into the gas processing system. Depending on the sample, a derivatization method by wet chemistry: MTBSTFA of TMAH can also be applied to analyze the most refractory compounds. The GC is able to separate the organic molecules which are then detected and identified by the QMS (Figure 1). For the second time after the Viking landers in 1976, SAM detected chlorinated organic compounds with the pyrolysis GC-QMS experiment. The detection of perchlorates salts (ClO4-) in soil at the Phoenix Landing site suggests that the chlorohydrocarbons detected could come from the reaction of organics with oxychlorines. Indeed, laboratory pyrolysis experiments have demonstrated that oxychlorines decomposed into molecular oxygen and volatile chlorine (HCl and/or Cl2) when heated which then react with the organic matter in the solid samples by oxidation and/or chlorination processes.

  10. Mars Exploration Rovers Launch Contingency Efforts

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGrath, Brian E.; Frostbutter, David A.; Parthasarathy, Karungulam N.; Heyler, Gene A.; Chang, Yale

    2004-02-01

    On 10 June 2003 at 1:58 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and 7 July 2003 at 11:18 p.m. EDT, two separate spacecraft/rovers were successfully launched to Mars atop a Delta II 7925 and Delta II 7925H, respectively. Each spacecraft/rover carried eight Light Weight Radioisotope Heater Units (LWRHUs) for thermal conditioning of electronics during the cold Martian nights. As a part of the joint National Aeronautics and Space Administration/U. S. Department of Energy safety effort, a contingency plan was prepared to address the unlikely events of an accidental suborbital reentry or out-of-orbit reentry. The objective of the contingency plan was to develop and implement procedures to predict, within the first hour, the probable Earth Impact Footprints (EIFs) for the LWRHUs or other possible spacecraft debris after an accidental reentry. No ablation burn-through of the heat sources' aeroshells was expected, as a result of earlier testing. Any predictions would be used in subsequent notification and recovery efforts. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, as part of a multi-agency team, was responsible for prediction of the EIFs, and the time of reentry from a potential orbital decay. The tools used to predict the EIFs included a Three-Degree-of-Freedom (3DOF) trajectory simulation code, a Six-Degree-of-Freedom (6DOF) code, a database of aerodynamic coefficients for the LWRHUs and other spacecraft debris, secure links to obtain tracking data, and a high fidelity special perturbation orbit integrator code to predict time of spacecraft reentry from orbital decay. This paper will discuss the contingency plan and process, as well as highlight the improvements made to the analytical tools. Improvements to the 3DOF, aerodynamic database, and orbit integrator and inclusion of the 6DOF have significantly enhanced the prediction capabilities. In the days before launch, the trajectory simulation codes were exercised and predictions of hypothetical EIFs were produced

  11. Mars Exploration Rover mobility and robotic arm operational performance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tunstel, Edward; Maimone, Mark; Trebi-Ollennu, Ashitey; Yen, Jeng; Petras, Richard; Wilson, Reg

    2005-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to describe an actual instance of a practical human-robot system used on a NASA Mars rover mission that has been underway since January 2004 involving daily intercation between humans on Earth and mobile robots on Mars.

  12. The Mars Surveyor '01 Rover and Robotic Arm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonitz, Robert G.; Nguyen, Tam T.; Kim, Won S.

    1999-01-01

    The Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander will carry with it both a Robotic Arm and Rover to support various science and technology experiments. The Marie Curie Rover, the twin sister to Sojourner Truth, is expected to explore the surface of Mars in early 2002. Scientific investigations to determine the elemental composition of surface rocks and soil using the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) will be conducted along with several technology experiments including the Mars Experiment on Electrostatic Charging (MEEC) and the Wheel Abrasion Experiment (WAE). The Rover will follow uplinked operational sequences each day, but will be capable of autonomous reactions to the unpredictable features of the Martian environment. The Mars Surveyor 2001 Robotic Arm will perform rover deployment, and support various positioning, digging, and sample acquiring functions for MECA (Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment) and Mossbauer Spectrometer experiments. The Robotic Arm will also collect its own sensor data for engineering data analysis. The Robotic Arm Camera (RAC) mounted on the forearm of the Robotic Arm will capture various images with a wide range of focal length adjustment during scientific experiments and rover deployment

  13. Origin of Chlorobenzene Detected by the Curiosity Rover in Yellowknife Bay: Evidence for Martian Organics in the Sheepbed Mudstone?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glavin, Daniel P.; Freissinet, Caroline; Eigenbrode, J.; Miller, K.; Martin, M.; Summons, R.; Steele, A.; Franz, H.; Archer, D.; Brinkerhoff, W.; Brunner, A.; Buch, A.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Conrad, P.; Coscia, D.; Dworkin, J.; Grotzinger, J.; Kashyap, S.; Mahaffy, P.; McKay, C.; Ming, D.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Sutter, B.; Szopa, C.

    2014-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity rover is designed to determine the inventory of organic and inorganic volatiles thermally evolved from solid samples using a combination of evolved gas analysis (EGA), gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS), and tunable laser spectroscopy. The first solid samples analyzed by SAM, a scoop of windblown dust and sand at Rocknest (RN), revealed chlorinated hydrocarbons derived primarily from reactions between a martian oxychlorine phase (e.g. perchlorate) and terrestrial carbon from N-methyl-N-(tert-butyldimethylsilyl)-trifluoroacetamide (MTBSTFA) vapor present in the SAM instrument background. Chlorobenzene (CBZ) was also identified by SAM GCMS at RN at trace levels (approx.0.007 nmol) and was attributed to the reaction of chlorine with the Tenax polymers used in the hydrocarbon traps. After the RN analyses, Curiosity traveled to Yellowknife Bay and drilled two separate holes designated John Klein (JK) and Cumberland (CB). Analyses of JK and CB by both SAM and the CheMin x-ray diffraction instrument revealed a mudstone consisting of approx.20 wt% smectite clays, which on Earth are known to aid the concentration and preservation of organic matter. In addition, higher abundances and a more diverse suite of chlorinated hydrocarbons in CB compared to RN suggests that martian or meteoritic organic sources may be preserved in the mudstone. Here we discuss the SAM EGA and GCMS measurements of volatiles released from the Sheepbed mudstone. We focus primarily on the elevated CBZ detections at CB and laboratory analog experiments conducted to help determine if CBZ is derived from primarily terrestrial, martian, or a combination of sources.

  14. MARVY: Mars Velocity Sensor Project

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The successful landing of the large Mars rover Curiosity on August 5, 2012 outlined the increasing complexity of safely landing large rovers on the planet. A precise...

  15. Curiosity: How to Boldly Go...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pyrzak, Guy

    2013-01-01

    Operating a one-ton rover on the surface of Mars requires more than just a joystick and an experiment. With 10 science instruments, 17 cameras, a radioisotope thermoelectric generator and lasers, Curiosity is the largest and most complex rover NASA has sent to Mars. Combined with a 1 way light time of 4 to 20 minutes and a distributed international science and engineering team, it takes a lot of work to operate this mega-rover. The Mars Science Lab's operations team has developed an organization and process that maximizes science return and safety of the spacecraft. These are the voyages of the rover Curiosity, its 2 year mission, to determine the habitability of Gale Crater, to understand the role of water, to study the climate and geology of Mars.

  16. Photogrammetric processing of rover imagery of the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Di, Kaichang; Xu, Fengliang; Wang, Jue; Agarwal, Sanchit; Brodyagina, Evgenia; Li, Rongxing; Matthies, Larry

    In the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, the twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, carry identical Athena instrument payloads and engineering cameras for exploration of the Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum landing sites. This paper presents the photogrammetric processing techniques for high accuracy topographic mapping and rover localization at the two landing sites. Detailed discussions about camera models, reference frames, interest point matching, automatic tie point selection, image network construction, incremental bundle adjustment, and topographic product generation are given. The developed rover localization method demonstrated the capability of correcting position errors caused by wheel slippages, azimuthal angle drift and other navigation errors. A comparison was also made between the bundle-adjusted rover traverse and the rover track imaged from the orbit. Mapping products including digital terrain models, orthophotos, and rover traverse maps have been generated for over two years of operations, and disseminated to scientists and engineers of the mission through a web-based GIS. The maps and localization information have been extensively used to support tactical operations and strategic planning of the mission.

  17. Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Efforts and Observations at the Rocknest Eolian Sand Shadow in Curiosity's Gale Crater Field Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgett, K. S.; Yingst, R. A.; Minitti, M. E.; Goetz, W.; Kah, L. C.; Kennedy, M. R.; Lipkaman, L. J.; Jensen, E. H.; Anderson, R. C.; Beegle, L. W.; Carsten, J. L.; Cooper, B.; Deen, R. G.; Dromart, G.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Hamilton, V. E.; Hardgrove, C. J.; Harker, D. E.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Herrera, P. N.; Hurowitz, J. A.; Jandura, L.; Ming, D. W.

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is focused on assessing the past or present habitability of Mars, through interrogation of environment and environmental records at the Curiosity rover field site in Gale crater. The MSL team has two methods available to collect, process and deliver samples to onboard analytical laboratories, the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite. One approach obtains samples by drilling into a rock, the other uses a scoop to collect loose regolith fines. Scooping was planned to be first method performed on Mars because materials could be readily scooped multiple times and used to remove any remaining, minute terrestrial contaminants from the sample processing system, the Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA). Because of this cleaning effort, the ideal first material to be scooped would consist of fine to very fine sand, like the interior of the Serpent Dune studied by the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit team in 2004 [1]. The MSL team selected a linear eolian deposit in the lee of a group of cobbles they named Rocknest (Fig. 1) as likely to be similar to Serpent Dune. Following the definitions in Chapter 13 of Bagnold [2], the deposit is termed a sand shadow. The scooping campaign occurred over approximately 6 weeks in October and November 2012. To support these activities, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) acquired images for engineering support/assessment and scientific inquiry.

  18. Curiosity explores the base of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars: Recent Geological and Geochemical Mission Results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gupta, Sanjeev; Vasavada, Ashwin; Crisp, Joy; Grotzinger, John

    2016-04-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has been exploring sedimentary rocks at the foothills of Aolis Mons since August 2014. Here, an array of fluvial, lacustrine and aeolian strata that show a complex pattern of post-depositional alteration are present. This presentation will summarize the most recent geological and geochemical findings of the MSL mission. Basal outcrops that form the lowest stratigraphic unit of Aeolis Mons, the Murray formation, are characterized predominantly by mudstones with minor intercalated sandstones. The mudstone facies, originally identified at the Pahrump Hills field site, show abundant fine-scale planar laminations throughout the Murray formation succession and is interpreted to record deposition in an ancient lacustrine system in Gale crater. Interbedded cross-stratified sandstones are considered to record fluvio-deltaic incursions into the lake. The lacustrine deposits of the Murray formation are unconformably overlain by much younger sandstones of the Stimson formation. Orbital mapping and in situ observations indicate that the basal strata of the Stimson formation show complex onlap relationships with the underlying Murray formation strata signifying that there was metre-scale palaeotopographic relief on the unconformity surface upon which the Stimson accumulated. The Stimson formation itself is characterized by cross-bedded sandstones with cross-bed sets tens of centimetres in thickness. Sedimentological observations suggest that the Stimson dominantly records deposition by aeolian dunes. Curiosity has made detailed measurements of the geochemistry of the Murray and Stimson formations and associated diagenetic features. Perhaps most surprising has been the discovery of extensive silica enrichment both within mudstones of the Murray formation, perhaps of primary sedimentary or later diagenetic origin, also in as fracture-related diagenetic halos within the Stimson formation. We will describe the nature of this silica

  19. Managing PV Power on Mars - MER Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stella, Paul M.; Chin, Keith; Wood, Eric; Herman, Jennifer; Ewell, Richard

    2009-01-01

    The MER Rovers have recently completed over 5 years of operation! This is a remarkable demonstration of the capabilities of PV power on the Martian surface. The extended mission required the development of an efficient process to predict the power available to the rovers on a day-to-day basis. The performance of the MER solar arrays is quite unlike that of any other Space array and perhaps more akin to Terrestrial PV operation, although even severe by that comparison. The impact of unpredictable factors, such as atmospheric conditions and dust accumulation (and removal) on the panels limits the accurate prediction of array power to short time spans. Based on the above, it is clear that long term power predictions are not sufficiently accurate to allow for detailed long term planning. Instead, the power assessment is essentially a daily activity, effectively resetting the boundary points for the overall predictive power model. A typical analysis begins with the importing of the telemetry from each rover's previous day's power subsystem activities. This includes the array power generated, battery state-of-charge, rover power loads, and rover orientation, all as functions of time. The predicted performance for that day is compared to the actual performance to identify the extent of any differences. The model is then corrected for these changes. Details of JPL's MER power analysis procedure are presented, including the description of steps needed to provide the final prediction for the mission planners. A dust cleaning event of the solar array is also highlighted to illustrate the impact of Martian weather on solar array performance

  20. Dreaming on Mars: How Curiosity Performs Actuator Warm-Up While Sleeping

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Gene Y.; Donaldson, James A.

    2013-01-01

    Before the Curiosity rover can perform its science activities for the day, such as driving, moving its robotic arm, or drilling, it first has to ensure that its actuators are within their allowable flight temperatures (AFTs). When the rover is awake, flight software uses heaters to warm up and maintain thermal zones at operational temperatures. However, Curiosity spends about 70% of its time sleeping, with the flight computer off, in order to conserve energy. Dream Mode is a special behavior that allows the rover to execute warm-up activities while sleeping. Using Dream Mode, actuators can be warmed up to their AFTs before the flight computer wakes up and uses them - saving power and improving operational efficiency. This paper describes the motivation behind Dream Mode, how it was implemented and tested on Curiosity, and the challenges and lessons learned along the way.

  1. Nuclear Safety Analysis for the Mars Exploration Rover 2003 Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Firstenberg, Henry; Rutger, Lyle L.; Mukunda, Meera; Bartram, Bart W.

    2004-02-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) 2003 project is designed to place two mobile laboratories (Rovers) on Mars to remotely characterize a diversity of rocks and soils. Milestones accomplished so far include two successful launches of identical spacecraft (the MER-A and MER-B missions) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on June 10 and July 7, 2003. Each Rover uses eight Light Weight Radioisotope Heater Units (LWRHUs) fueled with plutonium-238 dioxide to provide local heating of Rover components. The LWRHUs are provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, small quantities of radioactive materials in sealed sources are used in scientific instrumentation on the Rover. Due to the radioactive nature of these materials and the potential for accidents, a formal Launch Approval Process requires the preparation of a Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR) for submittal to and independent review by an Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel. This paper presents a summary of the FSAR in terms of potential accident scenarios, probabilities, source terms, radiological consequences, mission risks, and uncertainties in the reported results.

  2. Wheels and Suspension on Mars Science Laboratory Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-01-01

    This image from August 2008 shows NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover in the course of its assembly, before additions of its arm, mast, laboratory instruments and other equipment. The six wheels are half a meter (20 inches) in diameter. The deck is 1.1 meter (3.6 feet) above the ground. The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is being assembled and tested for launch in 2011. This image was taken at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., which manages the Mars Science Laboratory Mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

  3. Creation and Control of an Internet Controlled Mars Rover Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angeli, Gabor; Walker, C.

    2007-12-01

    The latest project in a longstanding correspondence between NOAO Tucson and the CADIAS center in La Serena, Chile focuses on Mars and Mars exploration. The objective was to provide a user-friendly yet moderately versatile imitation of the Spirit and Opportunity MARS rovers to be used by grade school students. In addition to basic motion, the rover that was built is able to take color photographs from a rotating camera, and avoid harmful collisions or structural stress via 'bumper' sensors on each of the wheels. The rover is intended to be used remotely via the Internet, and controlled locally via wireless radio. The focus of the project was to create a system that is stable, versatile, and user friendly. The majority of the system was coded in Java, including the micro controller, providing stability and a reliable internet protocol. A partial implementation of Scheme was used as a scripting language, providing an abstraction in the means of communication and control of the robot and allowing for a level of versatility in the range of commands available to the rover and the ease of tweaking those commands. A graphical user interface was implemented to provide a safe means of controlling the rover, creating an 'action queue' of safe commands to be sent as a block to the rover. We hope the project will provide a useful education tool for students in Chile, and potentially in the future students in Tucson as well. Angeli's research was supported by the NOAO/KPNO Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program which is funded by the National Science Foundation through Scientific Program Order No. 3 (AST-0243875) of the Cooperative Agreement No. AST-0132798 between the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and the NSF.

  4. Composition of conglomerates analyzed by the Curiosity rover: Implications for Gale Crater crust and sediment sources

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangold, N.; Thompson, L. M.; Forni, O.; Williams, A. J.; Fabre, C.; Le Deit, L.; Wiens, R. C.; Williams, R.; Anderson, R. B.; Blaney, D. L.; Calef, F.; Cousin, A.; Clegg, S. M.; Dromart, G.; Dietrich, W. E.; Edgett, K. S.; Fisk, M. R.; Gasnault, O.; Gellert, R.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Kah, L.; Le Mouélic, S.; McLennan, S. M.; Maurice, S.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Newsom, H. E.; Palucis, M. C.; Rapin, W.; Sautter, V.; Siebach, K. L.; Stack, K.; Sumner, D.; Yingst, A.

    2016-03-01

    The Curiosity rover has analyzed various detrital sedimentary rocks at Gale Crater, among which fluvial and lacustrine rocks are predominant. Conglomerates correspond both to the coarsest sediments analyzed and the least modified by chemical alteration, enabling us to link their chemistry to that of source rocks on the Gale Crater rims. In this study, we report the results of six conglomerate targets analyzed by Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer and 40 analyzed by ChemCam. The bulk chemistry derived by both instruments suggests two distinct end-members for the conglomerate compositions. The first group (Darwin type) is typical of conglomerates analyzed before sol 540; it has a felsic alkali-rich composition, with a Na2O/K2O > 5. The second group (Kimberley type) is typical of conglomerates analyzed between sols 540 and 670 in the vicinity of the Kimberley waypoint; it has an alkali-rich potassic composition with Na2O/K2O < 2. The variety of chemistry and igneous textures (when identifiable) of individual clasts suggest that each conglomerate type is a mixture of multiple source rocks. Conglomerate compositions are in agreement with most of the felsic alkali-rich float rock compositions analyzed in the hummocky plains. The average composition of conglomerates can be taken as a proxy of the average igneous crust composition at Gale Crater. Differences between the composition of conglomerates and that of finer-grained detrital sediments analyzed by the rover suggest modifications by diagenetic processes (especially for Mg enrichments in fine-grained rocks), physical sorting, and mixing with finer-grained material of different composition.

  5. Cross-stratified Facies Observed by the Mars Science Laboratory Rover at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgar, Lauren; Rubin, Dave; Grotzinger, John; Bell, Jim; Calef, Fred; Dromart, Gilles; Gupta, Sanjeev; Kah, Linda; Lewis, Kevin; Mangold, Nicolas; Schieber, Jurgen; Stack, Katie; Sumner, Dawn; MSL Science Team

    2013-04-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover has investigated a number of sedimentary rock outcrops since landing in Gale crater. From the Rocknest location, during sols 59 to 100, Curiosity observed a range of cross-bedded deposits spanning more than 60 m in lateral extent. Cross-bedding is best exposed in an ~80-cm-thick outcrop known as Shaler. Observations using the Mast Cameras of cross-bedding both at Shaler and Rocknest enabled the recognition of several distinct cross-bedded facies. Analysis of cross-bedding geometries provides insight into the depositional environment. On the basis of inferred grain size, erosional resistance, color, and sedimentary structures, we have identified four facies: 1) resistant cross-stratified facies, 2) smooth, fine-grained cross-stratified facies, 3) dark gray, pitted facies, and 4) recessive, vertically fractured facies. Sedimentary structures include simple and compound cross-bedding, angular discontinuities between lamina sets, and potential soft-sediment deformation. Trough cross-bedding suggests that bedforms had sinuous crestlines. Cross-bed sets range from centimeter to decimeter in scale. Small cm-scale climbing ripples were identified in the vicinity of Rocknest. Where climbing bedforms are visible, they climb at subcritical angles, resulting in preservation of only the lee slopes. Analysis of cross-bedding dip directions indicate a range of sediment transport directions. Grain transport under turbulent flows was required to produce the observed cross-bedded facies. We consider three possible depositional environments: eolian, fluvial, and pyroclastic surge. Pyroclastic surge deposits often contain bedforms with supercritical angles of climb, evidence for unidirectional transport radially away from a point source, contain volcanic indicators such as bombs and accretionary lapilli, and display distinct trends in grain size and facies from proximal to distal deposits or in vertical section. These characteristics do not

  6. Improved Path Planning Onboard the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stentz, Anthony; Ferguson, David; Carsten, Joseph; Rankin, Arturo

    2007-01-01

    A revised version of the AutoNav (autonomous navigation with hazard avoidance) software running onboard each Mars Exploration Rover (MER) affords better obstacle avoidance than does the previous version. Both versions include GESTALT (Grid-based Estimation of Surface Traversability Applied to Local Terrain), a navigation program that generates local-terrain models from stereoscopic image pairs captured by onboard rover cameras; uses this information to evaluate candidate arcs that extend across the terrain from the current rover location; ranks the arcs with respect to hazard avoidance, minimization of steering time, and the direction towards the goal; and combines the rankings in a weighted vote to select an arc, along which the rover is then driven. GESTALT works well in navigating around small isolated obstacles, but tends to fail when the goal is on the other side of a large obstacle or multiple closely spaced small obstacles. When that occurs, the goal seeking votes and hazard avoidance votes conflict severely. The hazard avoidance votes will not allow the rover to drive through the unsafe area, and the waypoint votes will not allow enough deviation from the straight-line path for the rover to get around the hazard. The rover becomes stuck and is unable to reach the goal. The revised version of AutoNav utilizes a global path-planning program, Field D*, to evaluate the cost of traveling from the end of each GESTALT arc to the goal. In the voting process, Field D* arc votes supplant GESTALT goal-seeking arc votes. Hazard avoidance, steering bias, and Field D* votes are merged and the rover is driven a preset distance along the arc with the highest vote. Then new images are acquired and the process as described is repeated until the goal is reached. This new technology allows the rovers to autonomously navigate around much more complex obstacle arrangements than was previously possible. In addition, this improved autonomy enables longer traverses per Sol (a day

  7. Autonomous Navigation Results from the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maimone, Mark; Johnson, Andrew; Cheng, Yang; Willson, Reg; Matthies, Larry H.

    2004-01-01

    In January, 2004, the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission landed two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, on the surface of Mars. Several autonomous navigation capabilities were employed in space for the first time in this mission. ]n the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) phase, both landers used a vision system called the, Descent Image Motion Estimation System (DIMES) to estimate horizontal velocity during the last 2000 meters (m) of descent, by tracking features on the ground with a downlooking camera, in order to control retro-rocket firing to reduce horizontal velocity before impact. During surface operations, the rovers navigate autonomously using stereo vision for local terrain mapping and a local, reactive planning algorithm called Grid-based Estimation of Surface Traversability Applied to Local Terrain (GESTALT) for obstacle avoidance. ]n areas of high slip, stereo vision-based visual odometry has been used to estimate rover motion, As of mid-June, Spirit had traversed 3405 m, of which 1253 m were done autonomously; Opportunity had traversed 1264 m, of which 224 m were autonomous. These results have contributed substantially to the success of the mission and paved the way for increased levels of autonomy in future missions.

  8. The RIMFAX Ground Penetrating Radar on the Mars 2020 Rover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamran, S. E.; Amundsen, H. E. F.; Carter, L. M.; Ghent, R. R.; Kohler, J.; Mellon, M. T.; Paige, D. A.

    2014-12-01

    The Radar Imager for Mars' Subsurface Exploration - RIMFAX is a Ground Penetrating Radar selected for NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission. RIMFAX will add a new dimension to the rover's toolset by providing the capability to image the shallow subsurface beneath the rover. The principal goals of the RIMFAX investigation are to image subsurface layering and structure, and to provide information regarding subsurface composition. Depending on materials, RIMFAX will image the subsurface stratigraphy to maximum depths of 10 to 500 meters, with vertical resolutions of 5 to 20 cm, with a horizontal sampling distance of 2 to 20 cm along the rover track. The resulting radar cross sections will provide important information on the geological context of surface outcrops as well as the geological and environmental history of the field area. The radar uses a Gated FMCW waveform and a single ultra wideband antenna that is used both for transmitting and receiving. The presentation will give an overview of the RIMFAX investigation, the radar system and show experimental results from a prototype radar.

  9. Autonomous Onboard Science Image Analysis for Future Mars Rover Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gulick, V. C.; Morris, R. L.; Ruzon, M. A.; Roush, T. L.

    1999-01-01

    To explore high priority landing sites and to prepare for eventual human exploration, future Mars missions will involve rovers capable of traversing tens of kilometers. However, the current process by which scientists interact with a rover does not scale to such distances. Specifically, numerous command cycles are required to complete even simple tasks, such as, pointing the spectrometer at a variety of nearby rocks. In addition, the time required by scientists to interpret image data before new commands can be given and the limited amount of data that can be downlinked during a given command cycle constrain rover mobility and achievement of science goals. Experience with rover tests on Earth supports these concerns. As a result, traverses to science sites as identified in orbital images would require numerous science command cycles over a period of many weeks, months or even years, perhaps exceeding rover design life and other constraints. Autonomous onboard science analysis can address these problems in two ways. First, it will allow the rover to transmit only "interesting" images, defined as those likely to have higher science content. Second, the rover will be able to anticipate future commands. For example, a rover might autonomously acquire and return spectra of "interesting" rocks along with a high resolution image of those rocks in addition to returning the context images in which they were detected. Such approaches, coupled with appropriate navigational software, help to address both the data volume and command cycle bottlenecks that limit both rover mobility and science yield. We are developing fast, autonomous algorithms to enable such intelligent on-board decision making by spacecraft. Autonomous algorithms developed to date have the ability to identify rocks and layers in a scene, locate the horizon, and compress multi-spectral image data. Output from these algorithms could be used to autonomously obtain rock spectra, determine which images should be

  10. The Meteorological Station for the NASA's 2011 Mars Science Laboratory Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreno, J.; Gómez-Elvira, J.; Peña, A.; Serrano, J.

    2009-05-01

    This paper presents REMS, the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station for next NASA Mars Rover. It outlines the instrument design concept, the main requirements, the difficulties that were needed to overcome during the development and the validation and verification approach.

  11. The Detection of Evolved Oxygen from the Rocknest Eolian Bedform Material by the Sample Analysis at Mars(SAM) instrument at the Mars Curiosity Landing Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; Archer, D.; Ming, D.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Franz, H.; Glavin, D. P.; McAdam, A.; Mahaffy, P.; Stern, J.; Navarro-Gonzalex, R.; McKay, C.

    2013-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument onboard the Curiosity rover detected an O2 gas release from the Rocknest eolain bedform (Fig. 1). The detection of perchlorate (ClO4-) by the Mars Phoenix Lander s Wet Chemistry Laboratory (WCL) [1] suggests that perchlorate is a possible candidate for evolved O2 release detected by SAM. The perchlorate would also serve as a source of chlorine in the chlorinated hydrocarbons detected by the SAM quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometer (GCMS) [2,3]. Chlorates (ClO3-) [4,5] and/or superoxides [6] may also be sources of evolved O2 from the Rocknest materials. The work objectives are to 1) evaluate the O2 release temperatures from Rocknest materials, 2) compare these O2 release temperatures with a series of perchlorates and chlorates, and 3) evaluate superoxide O2- sources and possible perchlorate interactions with other Rocknest phases during QMS analysis.

  12. Design and Structural Analysis of Mars Rover RTG

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schock, Alfred; Hamrick, T.; Sankarankandath, V.; Shirbacheh, M.

    1989-09-29

    The paper describes the design and the structural and mass analysis of a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) for powering the MARS Rover vehicle, which is a critical element of the unmanned Mars Rover and Sample Return mission (MRSR). The RTG design study was conducted by Fairchild Space Company for the U.S. Department of Energy, in support of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's MRSR project.; The paper briefly describes a reference mission scenario, an illustrative Rover design and activity pattern on Mars, and its power system requirements and environmental constraints, including the RTG cooling requirements during transit to Mars. It identifies the key RTG design problem, i.e. venting the helium generated by the fuel's alpha decay without intrusion of the Martian atmosphere into the RTG, and proposes a design approach for solving that problem.; Using that approach, it describes a very conservative baseline RTG design. The design is based on the proven and safety-qualified General Purpose Heat Source module, and employs standard thermoelectric unicouples whose reliability and performance stability has been extensively demonstrated on previous space missions. The heat source of the 250-watt RTG consists of a stack of 18 separate modules that is supported at its ends but not along its length. The paper describes and analyzes the structure that holds the stack together during Earth launch and Mars operations but allows it to come apart in case of an inadvertent reentry.; A companion paper presented at this conference describes the RTG's thermal and electrical analysis, and compares its performance with that of several lighter but less conservative design options.; There is a duplicate copy in the ESD files. This document is not relevent to OSTI Library. Do not send.

  13. Overview of the composition of sedimentary rocks along the Curiosity rover traverse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangold, N.

    2014-12-01

    The Curiosity rover has encountered a variety of sedimentary rocks which overall have displayed significant variations in both texture and composition. Sandstones and mudstones, interpreted as having been deposited in a fluvio-lacustrine environment, were observed at Yellowknife Bay, a location identified from orbital images as of significant interest. The fluvial and lacustrine sediments at Yellowknife Bay have a basaltic composition, with main variations only related to diagenetic features including calcium sulfate veins and nodules, and raised ridges with enriched Mg proportion. Conglomerates, interpreted as fluvial in origin, were observed in the initial phase of the mission and later along the traverse from Yellowknife Bay to Mount Sharp. Conglomerates contain granules and clasts with a strong diversity in albedo and textures indicating multiple sources on the Gale crater rims. This includes identification of minerals such as feldspars. Assuming the conglomerates are a mechanically altered product of crustal rocks with relatively little aqueous alteration, the average composition of conglomerates can be considered as a proxy for the source rock composition. This average composition displays a more felsic composition than the Martian average crust as defined by meteorites and orbital data implying that the Gale crater rim is enriched in felsic rocks. More layered sandstones have been observed in the second terrestrial year of investigation in the outcrops named Cooperstown, Kylie and Kimberley, located unconformably over the conglomerates. They have compositions that are distinct from the Yellowknife Bay sandstones with especially enhanced K proportion. The three groups of sediments have been interpreted to be dominated by fluvial transport across Gale crater. They suggest distinct source rocks, and/or a distinct diagenetic history that needs to be considered in the broad context of Gale crater's evolution.

  14. The Potassic Sedimentary Rocks in Gale Crater, Mars, as Seen by ChemCam Onboard Curiosity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le Deit, Laetitia; Mangold, Nicolas; Forni, Olivier; Cousin, Agnes; Lasue, Jeremie; Schröder, Susanne; Wiens, Roger C.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Fabre, Cecile; Stack, Katherine M.; Anderson, Ryan; Blaney, Diana L.; Clegg, Samuel M.; Dromart, Gilles; Fisk, Martin; Gasnault, Olivier; Grotzinger, John P.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Lanza, Nina; Le Mouélic, Stephane; Maurice, Sylvestre; McLennan, Scott M.; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Nachon, Marion; Newsom, Horton E.; Payre, Valerie; Rapin, William; Rice, Melissa; Sautter, Violaine; Treiman, Alan H.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity encountered potassium-rich clastic sedimentary rocks at two sites in Gale Crater, the waypoints Cooperstown and Kimberley. These rocks include several distinct meters-thick sedimentary outcrops ranging from fine sandstone to conglomerate, interpreted to record an ancient fluvial or fluvio-deltaic depositional system (Grotzinger et al., 2015). From ChemCam LIBS chemical analyses, this suite of sedimentary rocks has an overall mean K2O abundance that is more than five times higher than that of the average Martian crust. The combined analysis of ChemCam data with stratigraphic and geographic locations reveals that the mean K2O abundance increases upward through the stratigraphic section. Chemical analyses across each unit can be represented as mixtures of several distinct chemical components, i.e. mineral phases, including K-bearing minerals, mafic silicates, Fe-oxides, and Fe-hydroxide/oxyhydroxides. Possible K-bearing minerals include alkali feldspar (including anorthoclase and sanidine) and K-bearing phyllosilicate such as illite. Mixtures of different source rocks, including a potassium-rich rock located on the rim and walls of Gale Crater are the likely origin of observed chemical variations within each unit. Physical sorting may have also played a role in the enrichment in K in the Kimberley formation. The occurrence of these potassic sedimentary rocks provides additional evidence for the chemical diversity of the crust exposed at Gale Crater.

  15. The potassic sedimentary rocks in Gale Crater, Mars, as seen by ChemCam Onboard Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le Deit, Laetitia; Mangold, Nicolas; Forni, Olivier; Cousin, Agnes; Lasue, Jeremie; Schröder, Susanne; Wiens, Roger C.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Fabre, Cecile; Stack, Katherine M.; Anderson, Ryan; Blaney, Diana L.; Clegg, Samuel M.; Dromart, Gilles; Fisk, Martin; Gasnault, Olivier; Grotzinger, John P.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Lanza, Nina; Le Mouélic, Stephane; Maurice, Sylvestre; McLennan, Scott M.; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Nachon, Marion; Newsom, Horton E.; Payre, Valerie; Rapin, William; Rice, Melissa; Sautter, Violaine; Treiman, Alan H.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity encountered potassium-rich clastic sedimentary rocks at two sites in Gale Crater, the waypoints Cooperstown and Kimberley. These rocks include several distinct meters thick sedimentary outcrops ranging from fine sandstone to conglomerate, interpreted to record an ancient fluvial or fluvio-deltaic depositional system. From ChemCam Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) chemical analyses, this suite of sedimentary rocks has an overall mean K2O abundance that is more than 5 times higher than that of the average Martian crust. The combined analysis of ChemCam data with stratigraphic and geographic locations reveals that the mean K2O abundance increases upward through the stratigraphic section. Chemical analyses across each unit can be represented as mixtures of several distinct chemical components, i.e., mineral phases, including K-bearing minerals, mafic silicates, Fe-oxides, and Fe-hydroxide/oxyhydroxides. Possible K-bearing minerals include alkali feldspar (including anorthoclase and sanidine) and K-bearing phyllosilicate such as illite. Mixtures of different source rocks, including a potassium-rich rock located on the rim and walls of Gale Crater, are the likely origin of observed chemical variations within each unit. Physical sorting may have also played a role in the enrichment in K in the Kimberley formation. The occurrence of these potassic sedimentary rocks provides additional evidence for the chemical diversity of the crust exposed at Gale Crater.

  16. Mars Exploration Rover Athena Panoramic Camera (Pancam) investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J.F.; Squyres, S. W.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Maki, J.N.; Arneson, H.M.; Brown, D.; Collins, S.A.; Dingizian, A.; Elliot, S.T.; Hagerott, E.C.; Hayes, A.G.; Johnson, M.J.; Johnson, J. R.; Joseph, J.; Kinch, K.; Lemmon, M.T.; Morris, R.V.; Scherr, L.; Schwochert, M.; Shepard, M.K.; Smith, G.H.; Sohl-Dickstein, J. N.; Sullivan, R.J.; Sullivan, W.T.; Wadsworth, M.

    2003-01-01

    The Panoramic Camera (Pancam) investigation is part of the Athena science payload launched to Mars in 2003 on NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. The scientific goals of the Pancam investigation are to assess the high-resolution morphology, topography, and geologic context of each MER landing site, to obtain color images to constrain the mineralogic, photometric, and physical properties of surface materials, and to determine dust and aerosol opacity and physical properties from direct imaging of the Sun and sky. Pancam also provides mission support measurements for the rovers, including Sun-finding for rover navigation, hazard identification and digital terrain modeling to help guide long-term rover traverse decisions, high-resolution imaging to help guide the selection of in situ sampling targets, and acquisition of education and public outreach products. The Pancam optical, mechanical, and electronics design were optimized to achieve these science and mission support goals. Pancam is a multispectral, stereoscopic, panoramic imaging system consisting of two digital cameras mounted on a mast 1.5 m above the Martian surface. The mast allows Pancam to image the full 360?? in azimuth and ??90?? in elevation. Each Pancam camera utilizes a 1024 ?? 1024 active imaging area frame transfer CCD detector array. The Pancam optics have an effective focal length of 43 mm and a focal ratio f/20, yielding an instantaneous field of view of 0.27 mrad/pixel and a field of view of 16?? ?? 16??. Each rover's two Pancam "eyes" are separated by 30 cm and have a 1?? toe-in to provide adequate stereo parallax. Each eye also includes a small eight position filter wheel to allow surface mineralogic studies, multispectral sky imaging, and direct Sun imaging in the 400-1100 nm wavelength region. Pancam was designed and calibrated to operate within specifications on Mars at temperatures from -55?? to +5??C. An onboard calibration target and fiducial marks provide the capability

  17. Mars Exploration Rover Athena Panoramic Camera (Pancam) investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J. F.; Squyres, S. W.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Maki, J. N.; Arneson, H. M.; Brown, D.; Collins, S. A.; Dingizian, A.; Elliot, S. T.; Hagerott, E. C.; Hayes, A. G.; Johnson, M. J.; Johnson, J. R.; Joseph, J.; Kinch, K.; Lemmon, M. T.; Morris, R. V.; Scherr, L.; Schwochert, M.; Shepard, M. K.; Smith, G. H.; Sohl-Dickstein, J. N.; Sullivan, R. J.; Sullivan, W. T.; Wadsworth, M.

    2003-11-01

    The Panoramic Camera (Pancam) investigation is part of the Athena science payload launched to Mars in 2003 on NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. The scientific goals of the Pancam investigation are to assess the high-resolution morphology, topography, and geologic context of each MER landing site, to obtain color images to constrain the mineralogic, photometric, and physical properties of surface materials, and to determine dust and aerosol opacity and physical properties from direct imaging of the Sun and sky. Pancam also provides mission support measurements for the rovers, including Sun-finding for rover navigation, hazard identification and digital terrain modeling to help guide long-term rover traverse decisions, high-resolution imaging to help guide the selection of in situ sampling targets, and acquisition of education and public outreach products. The Pancam optical, mechanical, and electronics design were optimized to achieve these science and mission support goals. Pancam is a multispectral, stereoscopic, panoramic imaging system consisting of two digital cameras mounted on a mast 1.5 m above the Martian surface. The mast allows Pancam to image the full 360° in azimuth and +/-90° in elevation. Each Pancam camera utilizes a 1024 × 1024 active imaging area frame transfer CCD detector array. The Pancam optics have an effective focal length of 43 mm and a focal ratio of f/20, yielding an instantaneous field of view of 0.27 mrad/pixel and a field of view of 16° × 16°. Each rover's two Pancam ``eyes'' are separated by 30 cm and have a 1° toe-in to provide adequate stereo parallax. Each eye also includes a small eight position filter wheel to allow surface mineralogic studies, multispectral sky imaging, and direct Sun imaging in the 400-1100 nm wavelength region. Pancam was designed and calibrated to operate within specifications on Mars at temperatures from -55° to +5°C. An onboard calibration target and fiducial marks provide the

  18. Mars

    CERN Document Server

    Payment, Simone

    2017-01-01

    This curriculum-based, fun, and approachable book offers everything young readers need to know to begin their study of the Red Planet. They will learn about the fundamental aspects of the Mars, including its size, mass, surface features, interior, orbit, and spin. Further, they will learn about the history of the missions to Mars, including the Viking spacecraft and the Curiosity and MAVEN rovers. Finally, readers will learn about why scientists think there's a chance that Mars is or was suitable for life. With stunning imagery from NASA itself, readers will have a front seat-view of the missi

  19. Mars Rover Sample Return aerocapture configuration design and packaging constraints

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lawson, Shelby J.

    1989-01-01

    This paper discusses the aerodynamics requirements, volume and mass constraints that lead to a biconic aeroshell vehicle design that protects the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission elements from launch to Mars landing. The aerodynamic requirements for Mars aerocapture and entry and packaging constraints for the MRSR elements result in a symmetric biconic aeroshell that develops a L/D of 1.0 at 27.0 deg angle of attack. A significant problem in the study is obtaining a cg that provides adequate aerodynamic stability and performance within the mission imposed constraints. Packaging methods that relieve the cg problems include forward placement of aeroshell propellant tanks and incorporating aeroshell structure as lander structure. The MRSR missions developed during the pre-phase A study are discussed with dimensional and mass data included. Further study is needed for some missions to minimize MRSR element volume so that launch mass constraints can be met.

  20. Two possible types of regions with different ground water distribution over the Gale crater alone the MSL traverse according to DAN experiment onboard the Curiosity rover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kozyrev, Alexander; Mitrofanov, Igor; Lisov, Denis; Litvak, Maxim; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Golovin, Dmitry; Malakhov, Alexey; Mokrousov, Maxim; Nikiforov, Sergey; Sanin, Anton

    2016-04-01

    In the report will be presented the result of evaluations of water and chlorine contents at the Martian subsurface in the Gale crater. This result based on data of active neutron measurements by DAN experiment aboard NASA's Mars rover "Curiosity" in 412 sites along the 11 km of the rover traverse. In 78% of studied sites the distribution of water can be considered as homogeneous with average water content of 2.1 ± 0.5%. In 22% of sites the data suggest the two-layer model of the water distribution in the soil. The average water content in the top layer is about 2-3%, which is close to the value for site with the homogeneous distribution of water. In the first type of sites with two-layer water distribution, which constitute 8% of the total number, the data suggest the mass fraction of water 5.6 ± 2.7% in the bottom layer below the depth of 27 ± 18 cm. In the second type of sites with two-layer water distribution, which constitute 14% of the total number, data request much smaller fraction of water 1.2 ± 0.5% in the bottom layer below the depth of 14 ± 7 cm. For interpretation of the observations, one may suggest that the two types of regions exist in the Gale crater with high and low water content, which corresponds to different horizons of sediments formed in water and atmospheric environments, respectively.

  1. AIAA Educator Academy - Mars Rover Curriculum: A 6 week multidisciplinary space science based curriculum

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henriquez, E.; Bering, E. A.; Slagle, E.; Nieser, K.; Carlson, C.; Kapral, A.

    2013-12-01

    The Curiosity mission has captured the imagination of children, as NASA missions have done for decades. The AIAA and the University of Houston have developed a flexible curriculum program that offers children in-depth science and language arts learning culminating in the design and construction of their own model rover. The program is called the Mars Rover Model Celebration. It focuses on students, teachers and parents in grades 3-8. Students learn to research Mars in order to pick a science question about Mars that is of interest to them. They learn principles of spacecraft design in order to build a model of a Mars rover to carry out their mission on the surface of Mars. The model is a mock-up, constructed at a minimal cost from art supplies. This project may be used either informally as an after school club or youth group activity or formally as part of a class studying general science, earth science, solar system astronomy or robotics, or as a multi-disciplinary unit for a gifted and talented program. The project's unique strength lies in engaging students in the process of spacecraft design and interesting them in aerospace engineering careers. The project is aimed at elementary and secondary education. Not only will these students learn about scientific fields relevant to the mission (space science, physics, geology, robotics, and more), they will gain an appreciation for how this knowledge is used to tackle complex problems. The low cost of the event makes it an ideal enrichment vehicle for low income schools. It provides activities that provide professional development to educators, curricular support resources using NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) content, and provides family opportunities for involvement in K-12 student learning. This paper will describe the structure and organization of the 6 week curriculum. A set of 30 new 5E lesson plans have been written to support this project as a classroom activity. The challenge of developing interactive

  2. Accessing Information on the Mars Exploration Rovers Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walton, J. D.; Schreiner, J. A.

    2005-12-01

    In January 2004, the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission successfully deployed two robotic geologists - Spirit and Opportunity - to opposite sides of the red planet. Onboard each rover is an array of cameras and scientific instruments that send data back to Earth, where ground-based systems process and store the information. During the height of the mission, a team of about 250 scientists and engineers worked around the clock to analyze the collected data, determine a strategy and activities for the next day and then carefully compose the command sequences that would instruct the rovers in how to perform their tasks. The scientists and engineers had to work closely together to balance the science objectives with the engineering constraints so that the mission achieved its goals safely and quickly. To accomplish this coordinated effort, they adhered to a tightly orchestrated schedule of meetings and processes. To keep on time, it was critical that all team members were aware of what was happening, knew how much time they had to complete their tasks, and could easily access the information they need to do their jobs. Computer scientists and software engineers at NASA Ames Research Center worked closely with the mission managers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to create applications that support the mission. One such application, the Collaborative Information Portal (CIP), helps mission personnel perform their daily tasks, whether they work inside mission control or the science areas at JPL, or in their homes, schools, or offices. With a three-tiered, service-oriented architecture (SOA) - client, middleware, and data repository - built using Java and commercial software, CIP provides secure access to mission schedules and to data and images transmitted from the Mars rovers. This services-based approach proved highly effective for building distributed, flexible applications, and is forming the basis for the design of future mission software systems. Almost two

  3. Initial Observations and Activities of Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) at the Gale Field Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aileen Yingst, R.; Edgett, Kenneth; MSL Science Team

    2013-04-01

    The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) is a 2-megapixel focusable macro lens color camera on the turret on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity's, robotic arm. The investigation centers on stratigraphy, grain-scale texture, structure, mineralogy, and morphology. MAHLI acquires focused images at working distances of 2.1 cm to infinity; at 2.1 cm the scale is 14 µm/pixel; at 6.9 cm it is 31 µm/pixel, like the Spirit and Opportunity Microscopic Imagers (MI). Most MAHLI use during the first 100 Martian days (sols) was focused on instrument, rover, and robotic arm engineering check-outs and risk reduction, including (1) interrogation of an eolian sand shadow for suitability for scooping, decontamination of the sample collection and processing system (CHIMRA, Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis), and first solid sample delivery to the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments; (2) documentation of the nature of this sand; (3) verification that samples were delivered to SAM and passed through a 150 µm mesh and a 2 mm funnel throat in the CheMin inlet; (4) development of methods for future precision robotic arm positioning of MAHLI and the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS); and (5) use of MAHLI autofocus for range-finding to determine locations to position the scoop before each scooping event. Most Sol 0-100 MAHLI images were obtained at scales of 31-110 µm/pixel; some geologic targets were imaged at 21-31 µm/pixel. No opportunities to position the camera close enough to obtain 14-20 µm/pixel images were available during this initial period. Only two rocks, named Jake Matijevic and Bathurst Inlet, were imaged at a resolution higher than MI. Both were dark gray and mantled with dust and fine/very fine sand. In both cases, the highest resolution images of these rocks show no obvious, indisputable grains, suggesting that grain sizes (as expressed at the rock surfaces) are < 80 µm. However, because of

  4. Exploration of Victoria crater by the mars rover opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Squyres, S. W.; Knoll, A.H.; Arvidson, R. E.; Ashley, James W.; Bell, J.F.; Calvin, W.M.; Christensen, P.R.; Clark, B. C.; Cohen, B. A.; De Souza, P.A.; Edgar, L.; Farrand, W. H.; Fleischer, I.; Gellert, Ralf; Golombek, M.P.; Grant, J.; Grotzinger, J.; Hayes, A.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Jolliff, B.; Klingelhofer, G.; Knudson, A.; Li, R.; McCoy, T.J.; McLennan, S.M.; Ming, D. W.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Morris, R.V.; Rice, J. W.; Schroder, C.; Sullivan, R.J.; Yen, A.; Yingst, R.A.

    2009-01-01

    The Mars rover Opportunity has explored Victoria crater, a ???750-meter eroded impact crater formed in sulfate-rich sedimentary rocks. Impact-related stratigraphy is preserved in the crater walls, and meteoritic debris is present near the crater rim. The size of hematite-rich concretions decreases up-section, documenting variation in the intensity of groundwater processes. Layering in the crater walls preserves evidence of ancient wind-blown dunes. Compositional variations with depth mimic those ???6 kilometers to the north and demonstrate that water-induced alteration at Meridiani Planum was regional in scope.

  5. Implications of Curiosity's findings for the Viking labeled-release experiment and life on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Levin, Gilbert V.

    2013-09-01

    Curiosity's latest reported findings, or lack thereof, are interpreted from the standpoint of their implications for the Viking Labeled Release experiment, and for life on Mars in general. As of the writing of this abstract, Curiosity has reported no findings related to those anticipated by the author's last year's paper, "Stealth Life Detection Experiments Aboard Curiosity." However, Curiosity scientists have stated that soil and rock samples have been taken and analyzed, and abundant images have been downloaded. The only (indirectly) relevant reports issued by Curiosity scientists concern small-molecule organics found in a soil sample, which simple compounds they suggest might be terrestrial contamination, and images of rocks with colored (green) patches, the latter not of sufficient resolution (of which the cameras are capable) to detect possible evidence of biology. Hopefully, by the time of preparation of the body of this paper, more information will be available.

  6. The NASA 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Panoramic Camera (Pancam) Investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J. F.; Squyres, S. W.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Maki, J.; Schwochert, M.; Morris, R. V.; Athena Team

    2002-12-01

    The Panoramic Camera System (Pancam) is part of the Athena science payload to be launched to Mars in 2003 on NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rover missions. The Pancam imaging system on each rover consists of two major components: a pair of digital CCD cameras, and the Pancam Mast Assembly (PMA), which provides the azimuth and elevation actuation for the cameras as well as a 1.5 meter high vantage point from which to image. Pancam is a multispectral, stereoscopic, panoramic imaging system, with a field of regard provided by the PMA that extends across 360o of azimuth and from zenith to nadir, providing a complete view of the scene around the rover. Pancam utilizes two 1024x2048 Mitel frame transfer CCD detector arrays, each having a 1024x1024 active imaging area and 32 optional additional reference pixels per row for offset monitoring. Each array is combined with optics and a small filter wheel to become one "eye" of a multispectral, stereoscopic imaging system. The optics for both cameras consist of identical 3-element symmetrical lenses with an effective focal length of 42 mm and a focal ratio of f/20, yielding an IFOV of 0.28 mrad/pixel or a rectangular FOV of 16o\\x9D 16o per eye. The two eyes are separated by 30 cm horizontally and have a 1o toe-in to provide adequate parallax for stereo imaging. The cameras are boresighted with adjacent wide-field stereo Navigation Cameras, as well as with the Mini-TES instrument. The Pancam optical design is optimized for best focus at 3 meters range, and allows Pancam to maintain acceptable focus from infinity to within 1.5 meters of the rover, with a graceful degradation (defocus) at closer ranges. Each eye also contains a small 8-position filter wheel to allow multispectral sky imaging, direct Sun imaging, and surface mineralogic studies in the 400-1100 nm wavelength region. Pancam has been designed and calibrated to operate within specifications from -55oC to +5oC. An onboard calibration target and fiducial marks provide

  7. RAT magnet experiment on the Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity beyond sol 500

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Leer, Kristoffer; Goetz, Walter; Chan, Marjorie A.;

    2011-01-01

    The Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) magnet experiment on the Mars Exploration Rovers was designed to collect dust from rocks ground by the RAT of the two rovers on the surface of Mars. The dust collected on the magnets is now a mixture of dust from many grindings. Here the new data from the experiment a...

  8. Results of the Mars Exploration Rover Athena science investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Squyres, S. W.; Athena Science Team

    2004-05-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers ``Spirit" and ``Opportunity" have performed missions of scientific exploration at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum on Mars. Their objective is to search for evidence of water activity at the two sites, and to assess the past habitability of the sites. The Gusev Crater site investigated by Spirit is a flat, rock-strewn plain. All rocks at the site investigated to date are olivine basalt. The rover has conducted a radial traverse through the ejecta blanket of the crater Bonneville. After investigation of this crater, the rover will continue its traverse toward the Columbia Hills, a range of hills over 100 m high approximately 2.5 km to the west. To date, no unambiguous evidence of aqueous activity has been found at the Gusev site. The lander carrying Opportunity came to rest in a 20-meter crater in Meridiani Planum. Exposed within this crater is a small outcrop of bedrock. The bedrock outcrop has been studied in detail, and shows compelling evidence for formation and alteration processes involving liquid water. This evidence includes (a) embedded hematite-rich spherules that appear to be concretions, (b) tabular voids with characteristics consistent with those of molds of crystals formed by precipitation from water, (c) extremely high sulfur content, suggesting a compositon of 30-40 salts by weight, (d) significant quantities of jarosite, (e) Cl/Br systematics similar to those of terrestrial evaporites, and (f) cross stratification indicative of deposition in a moving fluid environment, probably water. Precipitated minerals at the Meridiani site could be very effective at preserving evidence of conditions and processes in the aqueous environment there, making them an attractive potential target for future study.

  9. Meteorites on Mars observed with Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schroder, C.; Rodionov, D.S.; McCoy, T.J.; Jolliff, B.L.; Gellert, Ralf; Nittler, L.R.; Farrand, W. H.; Johnson, J. R.; Ruff, S.W.; Ashley, James W.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Fleischer, I.; Haldemann, A.F.C.; Klingelhofer, G.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R.V.; de Souza, P.A.; Squyres, S. W.; Weitz, C.; Yen, A. S.; Zipfel, J.; Economou, T.

    2008-01-01

    Reduced weathering rates due to the lack of liquid water and significantly greater typical surface ages should result in a higher density of meteorites on the surface of Mars compared to Earth. Several meteorites were identified among the rocks investigated during Opportunity's traverse across the sandy Meridiani plains. Heat Shield Rock is a IAB iron meteorite and has been officially recognized as 'Meridiani Planum.' Barberton is olivine-rich and contains metallic Fe in the form of kamacite, suggesting a meteoritic origin. It is chemically most consistent with a mesosiderite silicate clast. Santa Catarina is a brecciated rock with a chemical and mineralogical composition similar to Barberton. Barberton, Santa Catarina, and cobbles adjacent to Santa Catarina may be part of a strewn field. Spirit observed two probable iron meteorites from its Winter Haven location in the Columbia Hills in Gusev Crater. Chondrites have not been identified to date, which may be a result of their lower strengths and probability to survive impact at current atmospheric pressures. Impact craters directly associated with Heat Shield Rock, Barberton, or Santa Catarina have not been observed, but such craters could have been erased by eolian-driven erosion. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

  10. Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity Mobility Simulation of Traverses at Endeavour Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coutrot, G. L.; Arvidson, R. E.

    2013-12-01

    Mars Rover Opportunity selected drives over Cape York and Solander Point were simulated using ARTEMIS (Adams-based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Interaction Simulator), a dynamic computer-based model for rover drives over realistic terrains. Artemis provides insight into how Opportunity responds in terms of rover 3D slip (defined as 100*(1 - actual discance / commanded distance)) and wheel sinkages on tilted surfaces to retrieve soil properties and to have a useful tool for path planning. Elevation data for the simulations were derived from HiRISE setereo observations, complemented by Navcam and Pancam-based elevation maps. Mechanical properties were estimated based on previous drives and tests in the JPL Mars Yard and Mojave Desert. Soil properties were assigned to map cells based on examination of image data and characterization of the extent of bedrock as opposed to soil exposures. Two models were tested: the deformable soil model using the classical terramechanics equations and the contact model using Coulomb's laws of friction. Both models were run and parameters adjusted to match the flight rover 3D slip and wheel sinkage data... The deformable soil model reproduced accurately the drives in terms of rover 3D slip and wheel sinkage. The longitudinal shear deformation modulus and soil cohesion were found to be the two main parameters that strongly impacted results by affecting the shear stresses and slip values. For example, on the uphill segment of Matijevic Hill driven on sol 3212, the simulation requirestwo types of soil over bedrock, one with a cohesion of 2500 Pa and a deformation modulus of 5 mm, and one with a lower cohesion of 1000 Pa and a deformation modulus of 10 mm, matching the geologic map over Matijevic Hill that displays a change in soil type at this location.

  11. xLuna - D emonstrator on ESA Mars Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braga, P.; Henriques, L.; Carvalho, B.; Chevalley, P.; Zulianello, M.

    2008-08-01

    There is a significant gap between the services offered by existing space qualified Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) and those required by the most demanding future space applications. New requirements for autonomy, terrain mapping and navigation, Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM), improvement of the throughput of science tasks, all demand high level services such as file systems or POSIX compliant interfaces. xLuna is an operating system that aims fulfilling these new requirements. Besides providing the typical services that of an RTOS (tasks and interrupts management, timers, message queues, etc), it also includes most of the features available in modern general-purpose operating systems, such as Linux. This paper describes a case study that proposes to demonstrate the usage of xLuna on board a rover currently in use for the development of algorithms in preparation of a mission to Mars.

  12. The Opportunity Rover's Athena Science Investigation at Meridiani Planum, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J. F.; Brückner, J.; Cabrol, N. A.; Calvin, W.; Carr, M. H.; Christensen, P. R.; Clark, B. C.; Crumpler, L.; Des Marais, D. J.; d'Uston, C.; Economou, T.; Farmer, J.; Farrand, W.; Folkner, W.; Golombek, M.; Gorevan, S.; Grant, J. A.; Greeley, R.; Grotzinger, J.; Haskin, L.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Hviid, S.; Johnson, J.; Klingelhöfer, G.; Knoll, A. H.; Landis, G.; Lemmon, M.; Li, R.; Madsen, M. B.; Malin, M. C.; McLennan, S. M.; McSween, H. Y.; Ming, D. W.; Moersch, J.; Morris, R. V.; Parker, T.; Rice, J. W.; Richter, L.; Rieder, R.; Sims, M.; Smith, M.; Smith, P.; Soderblom, L. A.; Sullivan, R.; Wänke, H.; Wdowiak, T.; Wolff, M.; Yen, A.

    2004-12-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has investigated the landing site in Eagle crater and the nearby plains within Meridiani Planum. The soils consist of fine-grained basaltic sand and a surface lag of hematite-rich spherules, spherule fragments, and other granules. Wind ripples are common. Underlying the thin soil layer, and exposed within small impact craters and troughs, are flat-lying sedimentary rocks. These rocks are finely laminated, are rich in sulfur, and contain abundant sulfate salts. Small-scale cross-lamination in some locations provides evidence for deposition in flowing liquid water. We interpret the rocks to be a mixture of chemical and siliciclastic sediments formed by episodic inundation by shallow surface water, followed by evaporation, exposure, and desiccation. Hematite-rich spherules are embedded in the rock and eroding from them. We interpret these spherules to be concretions formed by postdepositional diagenesis, again involving liquid water.

  13. Comparing Rover and Orbiter based observations at Meridiani Planum, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gellert, R.; Arvidson, R. E.; Campbell, J. L.; Clark, B. C.; Squyres, S.; Yen, A. S.

    2011-12-01

    The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on board the MER rover Opportunity has documented the chemical composition of the bedrock at Meridiani Planum over the traverse of ~33 km so far. The bedrock is very high in sulfate, up to ~ 25 weight percents SO3, interpreted as sedimentary sandstone. The high precision and consistency of the acquired APXS data, mainly of the abraded samples, allowed the characterization of the homogeneous bedrock over the traverse. Inside Victoria and Endurance Crater the abundance of magnesium and sulfur dropped in a 1:1 molar ratio by about 30 % in parallel with an increase of chlorine by a factor of 3. This inferred the presence of magnesium sulfate and an unknown chlorine-compound. Moreover the identical change in soluble minerals between Victoria and Endurance craters (~6 km apart) might indicate a large scale change in a subsurface water table in the past. Using the scatter peak method in the APXS spectra, the excess of oxygen was determined to be equivalent to ~ 14% bound water for the average Meridiani outcrop. Besides bedrock, basaltic soil and a lag of hematitic concretions, the rover encountered several erratic rocks sitting on the plains. Both, iron-nickel meteorites and cobbles with a basaltic mineralogy are suggestive of emplacement as meteorites. The basaltic rocks, Bounce Rock and Marquette, are ejecta from different regions on Mars. The APXS data of even unbrushed surfaces, typically a mixture or airborne dust, soil and alteration rinds, clearly indicated significant differences to the dominating bedrock. Opportunity is expected to reach the rim of the Noachian-aged Endurance Crater in August 2011, where orbital instruments detected evidence for polyhydrated sulfates, Fe-Mg Smectites, as well as basaltic materials. It is unprecedented for a rover to drive into an area with these significant alteration minerals predicted from orbit. While the mineral spectrometers on the rover are now significantly degraded, the APXS

  14. "Where On Mars?": A Web Map Visualisation of the ExoMars 2018 Rover Candidate Landing Sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manaud, N.; Boix, O.; Vago, J.; Hill, A.; Iriberri, C.; Carrión, D.

    2015-10-01

    The ExoMars 2018 mission will deliver a European rover and a Russian surface platform to the surface of Mars. Armed with a drill that can bore 2 metres into rock, the ExoMars rover will travel across the Martian surface to search for signs of life, past or present. But where on Mars to land? - The search for a suitable ExoMars rover landing site began in December 2013, when the planetary science community was asked to propose candidates. Eight proposals were considered during a workshop held by the ExoMars Landing Site Selection Working Group (LSSWG). By the end of the workshop, there were four clear front-runners. Following additional review, the four sites have now been formally recommended for further detailed analysis [1]: Mawrth Vallis, Oxia Planum, Hypanis Vallis and Aram Dorsum. Scientists will continue working on the characterisation of these four sites until they provide their final recommendation in October 2017.

  15. Assessment of Mars Exploration Rover Landing Site Predictions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Golombek, M. P.

    2005-05-01

    Comprehensive analyses of remote sensing data during the 3-year effort to select the Mars Exploration Rover landing sites at Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum correctly predicted the safe and trafficable surfaces explored by the two rovers. Gusev crater was predicted to be a relatively low relief surface that was comparably dusty, but less rocky than the Viking landing sites. Available data for Meridiani Planum indicated a very flat plain composed of basaltic sand to granules and hematite that would look completely unlike any of the existing landing sites with a dark, low albedo surface, little dust and very few rocks. Orbital thermal inertia measurements of 315 J m-2 s-0.5 K-1 at Gusev suggested surfaces dominated by duricrust to cemented soil-like materials or cohesionless sand or granules, which is consistent with observed soil characteristics and measured thermal inertias from the surface. THEMIS thermal inertias along the traverse at Gusev vary from 285 at the landing site to 330 around Bonneville rim and show systematic variations that can be related to the observed increase in rock abundance (5-30%). Meridiani has an orbital bulk inertia of ~200, similar to measured surface inertias that correspond to observed surfaces dominated by 0.2 mm sand size particles. Rock abundance derived from orbital thermal differencing techniques suggested that Meridiani Planum would have very low rock abundance, consistent with the rock free plain traversed by Opportunity. Spirit landed in an 8% orbital rock abundance pixel, consistent with the measured 7% of the surface covered by rocks >0.04 m diameter at the landing site, which is representative of the plains away from craters. The orbital albedo of the Spirit traverse varies from 0.19 to 0.30, consistent with surface measurements in and out of dust devil tracks. Opportunity is the first landing in a low albedo portion of Mars as seen from orbit, which is consistent with the dark, dust-free surface and measured albedos. The

  16. Conceptual Design and Architecture of Mars Exploration Rover (MER) for Seismic Experiments Over Martian Surfaces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garg, Akshay; Singh, Amit

    2012-07-01

    Keywords: MER, Mars, Rover, Seismometer Mars has been a subject of human interest for exploration missions for quite some time now. Both rover as well as orbiter missions have been employed to suit mission objectives. Rovers have been preferentially deployed for close range reconnaissance and detailed experimentation with highest accuracy. However, it is essential to strike a balance between the chosen science objectives and the rover operations as a whole. The objective of this proposed mechanism is to design a vehicle (MER) to carry out seismic studies over Martian surface. The conceptual design consists of three units i.e. Mother Rover as a Surrogate (Carrier) and Baby Rovers (two) as seeders for several MEMS-based accelerometer / seismometer units (Nodes). Mother Rover can carry these Baby Rovers, having individual power supply with solar cells and with individual data transmission capabilities, to suitable sites such as Chasma associated with Valles Marineris, Craters or Sand Dunes. Mother rover deploys these rovers in two opposite direction and these rovers follow a triangulation pattern to study shock waves generated through firing tungsten carbide shells into the ground. Till the time of active experiments Mother Rover would act as a guiding unit to control spatial spread of detection instruments. After active shock experimentation, the babies can still act as passive seismometer units to study and record passive shocks from thermal quakes, impact cratering & landslides. Further other experiments / payloads (XPS / GAP / APXS) can also be carried by Mother Rover. Secondary power system consisting of batteries can also be utilized for carrying out further experiments over shallow valley surfaces. The whole arrangement is conceptually expected to increase the accuracy of measurements (through concurrent readings) and prolong life cycle of overall experimentation. The proposed rover can be customised according to the associated scientific objectives and further

  17. Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars: Characterization and analysis of the rocknest sand shadow

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Blake, D.F.; Morris, R.V.; Kocurek, G.; Morrison, S.M.; Downs, R.T.; Bish, D.; Ming, D.W.; Edgett, K.S.; Rubin, D.; Goetz, W.; Madsen, M.B.; Sullivan, R.; Gellert, R.; Campbell, I.; Treiman, A.H.; McLennan, S.M.; Yen, A.S.; Grotzinger, J.; Vaniman, D.T.; Chipera, S.J.; Achilles, C.N.; Rampe, E.B.; Sumner, D.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Maurice, S.; Forni, O.; Gasnault, O.; Fisk, M.; Schmidt, M.; Mahaffy, P.; Leshin, L.A.; Glavin, D.; Steele, A.; Freissinet, C.; Navarro-González, R.; Yingst, R.A.; Kah, L.C.; Bridges, N.; Lewis, K.W.; Bristow, T.F.; Farmer, J.D.; Crisp, J.A.; Stolper, E.M.; Des Marais, D.J.; Sarrazin, P.; MSL Science Team, the

    2013-01-01

    The Rocknest aeolian deposit is similar to aeolian features analyzed by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) Spirit and Opportunity. The fraction of sand <150 micrometers in size contains ~55% crystalline material consistent with a basaltic heritage and ~45% x-ray amorphous material. The amorphous com

  18. Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars: Characterization and analysis of the rocknest sand shadow

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Blake, D.F.; Morris, R.V.; Kocurek, G.; Morrison, S.M.; Downs, R.T.; Bish, D.; Ming, D.W.; Edgett, K.S.; Rubin, D.; Goetz, W.; Madsen, M.B.; Sullivan, R.; Gellert, R.; Campbell, I.; Treiman, A.H.; McLennan, S.M.; Yen, A.S.; Grotzinger, J.; Vaniman, D.T.; Chipera, S.J.; Achilles, C.N.; Rampe, E.B.; Sumner, D.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Maurice, S.; Forni, O.; Gasnault, O.; Fisk, M.; Schmidt, M.; Mahaffy, P.; Leshin, L.A.; Glavin, D.; Steele, A.; Freissinet, C.; Navarro-González, R.; Yingst, R.A.; Kah, L.C.; Bridges, N.; Lewis, K.W.; Bristow, T.F.; Farmer, J.D.; Crisp, J.A.; Stolper, E.M.; Des Marais, D.J.; Sarrazin, P.; MSL Science Team, the|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/292012217

    2013-01-01

    The Rocknest aeolian deposit is similar to aeolian features analyzed by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) Spirit and Opportunity. The fraction of sand <150 micrometers in size contains ~55% crystalline material consistent with a basaltic heritage and ~45% x-ray amorphous material. The amorphous

  19. Parametric study of the factors affecting wheel slip and sinkage for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, J.; Kulchitsky, A. V.; Duvoy, P.; Arvidson, R. E.; Iagnemma, K.; Senatore, C.

    2013-12-01

    In 2004 two rovers landed on Mars to conduct scientific investigations of the Martian surface in an effort to better understand its surface geology, climate, and potential to support life. During the mission, both rovers experienced events of severe rover wheel sinkage and slip in the highly variable Martian regolith. Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity experienced high wheel slip and sinkage when it attempted to cross a series of wind-blown ripples. MER rover Spirit became immobilized after breaking through a soil crust into highly deformable poorly sorted sands. Events of MER rover wheel high-sinkage and slip make mobility difficult, creating challenges for rover drive planners and increasing the risk of ending a mission early due to a lack of rover mobility. The ARTEMIS (Adams- based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Interaction Simulator) MER rover simulation tool was developed in an effort to improve the ability to simulate rover mobility on planetary surfaces to aid planning of rover drives and to extract a rover if it becomes embedded in soil [1]. While ARTEMIS has demonstrated its ability to simulate a wide variety of rover mobility scenarios using a library of empirically based terramechanics subroutines and high-resolution digital elevation maps of Mars, it has had less success at simulating the high-sinkage, high-slip conditions that pose the highest risk to rover mobility. To improve ARTEMIS's high-slip, high-sinkage terramechanics subroutines, the COUPi discrete element method (DEM) model of MER rover wheel motion under conditions of high-sinkage and slip is being used to examine the effects of soil particle size distribution (PSD), shape, and bulk density. DEM simulations of MER wheel digging tests and the resistance forces of penetrometers in soil have demonstrated the importance of particle shape and bulk density on soil strength [2, 3]. Simulations of the densification of particle beds as functions of the spread (ratio of largest to smallest

  20. Effect of the presence of chlorates and perchlorates on the pyrolysis of organic compounds: implications for measurements done with the SAM experiment onboard the Curiosity rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Millan, Maeva; Szopa, Cyril; Buch, Arnaud; Belmahdi, Imène; Coll, Patrice; Glavin, Daniel P.; Freissinet, Caroline; Archer, Doug; Sutter, Brad; Summons, Roger E.; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; Cabane, Michel; Mahaffy, Paul

    2016-04-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) experiment onboard the Curiosity rover of the Mars Science Laboratory mission is partly devoted to the in situ molecular analysis of gases evolving from solid samples collected on Mars surface/sub-surface. SAM has a gas-chromatograph coupled to a quadrupole mass spectrometer (GC-QMS) devoted to the separation and identification of organic and inorganic material [1]. Before proceeding to the GC-QMS analysis, the solid sample collected by Curiosity is subjected to a thermal treatment thanks to the pyrolysis oven to release the volatiles into the gas processing system. As the Viking landers in 1976 [2], SAM detected chlorohydrocarbons with the pyrolysis GC-QMS experiment [3,4]. The detection of perchlorates salts in soil at the Phoenix Landing site [6] suggests that these chlorohydrocarbons could come from the reaction of organics with oxychlorines. Oxychlorines indeed decomposed into molecular oxygen and volatile chlorine when heated and react with the organic matter in the samples by oxidation and/or chlorination processes. [3,5,7,8]. During SAM pyrolysis, samples are heated to 850°C. SAM detected C1 to C3 chloroalkanes, entirely attributed to reaction products occurring during the pyrolysis experiment between oxychlorines and organic carbon from instrument background [3] and chlorobenzene and C2 to C4 dichloroalkanes produced by reaction between Mars endogenous organics with oxychlorines [4]. To help understanding the influence of perchlorate and chlorate salts on organic matter during SAM pyrolysis, we systemically study the reaction products formed during pyrolysis of various organic compounds mixed with various perchlorates and chlorates. We selected organics from simple molecule forms as for instance PAHs and amino acids to complex material (>30 carbon atoms) such as kerogen. The perchlorate and chlorate salts are prepared at 1 wt % concentration in silica and mixed with the organics to study the potential qualitative and

  1. Results From Mars Show Electrostatic Charging of the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kolecki, Joseph C.; Siebert, Mark W.

    1998-01-01

    Indirect evidence (dust accumulation) has been obtained indicating that the Mars Pathfinder rover, Sojourner, experienced electrostatic charging on Mars. Lander camera images of the Sojourner rover provide distinctive evidence of dust accumulation on rover wheels during traverses, turns, and crabbing maneuvers. The sol 22 (22nd Martian "day" after Pathfinder landed) end-of-day image clearly shows fine red dust concentrated around the wheel edges with additional accumulation in the wheel hubs. A sol 41 image of the rover near the rock "Wedge" (see the next image) shows a more uniform coating of dust on the wheel drive surfaces with accumulation in the hubs similar to that in the previous image. In the sol 41 image, note particularly the loss of black-white contrast on the Wheel Abrasion Experiment strips (center wheel). This loss of contrast was also seen when dust accumulated on test wheels in the laboratory. We believe that this accumulation occurred because the Martian surface dust consists of clay-sized particles, similar to those detected by Viking, which have become electrically charged. By adhering to the wheels, the charged dust carries a net nonzero charge to the rover, raising its electrical potential relative to its surroundings. Similar charging behavior was routinely observed in an experimental facility at the NASA Lewis Research Center, where a Sojourner wheel was driven in a simulated Martian surface environment. There, as the wheel moved and accumulated dust (see the following image), electrical potentials in excess of 100 V (relative to the chamber ground) were detected by a capacitively coupled electrostatic probe located 4 mm from the wheel surface. The measured wheel capacitance was approximately 80 picofarads (pF), and the calculated charge, 8 x 10(exp -9) coulombs (C). Voltage differences of 100 V and greater are believed sufficient to produce Paschen electrical discharge in the Martian atmosphere. With an accumulated net charge of 8 x 10(exp

  2. Feeding People's Curiosity: Leveraging the Cloud for Automatic Dissemination of Mars Images

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knight, David; Powell, Mark

    2013-01-01

    Smartphones and tablets have made wireless computing ubiquitous, and users expect instant, on-demand access to information. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) operations software suite, MSL InterfaCE (MSLICE), employs a different back-end image processing architecture compared to that of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) in order to better satisfy modern consumer-driven usage patterns and to offer greater server-side flexibility. Cloud services are a centerpiece of the server-side architecture that allows new image data to be delivered automatically to both scientists using MSLICE and the general public through the MSL website (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/).

  3. Feeding People's Curiosity: Leveraging the Cloud for Automatic Dissemination of Mars Images

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knight, David; Powell, Mark

    2013-01-01

    Smartphones and tablets have made wireless computing ubiquitous, and users expect instant, on-demand access to information. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) operations software suite, MSL InterfaCE (MSLICE), employs a different back-end image processing architecture compared to that of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) in order to better satisfy modern consumer-driven usage patterns and to offer greater server-side flexibility. Cloud services are a centerpiece of the server-side architecture that allows new image data to be delivered automatically to both scientists using MSLICE and the general public through the MSL website (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/).

  4. The Raman Laser Spectrometer for the ExoMars Rover Mission to Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rull, Fernando; Maurice, Sylvestre; Hutchinson, Ian; Moral, Andoni; Perez, Carlos; Diaz, Carlos; Colombo, Maria; Belenguer, Tomas; Lopez-Reyes, Guillermo; Sansano, Antonio; Forni, Olivier; Parot, Yann; Striebig, Nicolas; Woodward, Simon; Howe, Chris; Tarcea, Nicolau; Rodriguez, Pablo; Seoane, Laura; Santiago, Amaia; Rodriguez-Prieto, Jose A.; Medina, Jesús; Gallego, Paloma; Canchal, Rosario; Santamaría, Pilar; Ramos, Gonzalo; Vago, Jorge L.; RLS Team

    2017-07-01

    The Raman Laser Spectrometer (RLS) on board the ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars 2020 mission will provide precise identification of the mineral phases and the possibility to detect organics on the Red Planet. The RLS will work on the powdered samples prepared inside the Pasteur analytical suite and collected on the surface and subsurface by a drill system. Raman spectroscopy is a well-known analytical technique based on the inelastic scattering by matter of incident monochromatic light (the Raman effect) that has many applications in laboratory and industry, yet to be used in space applications. Raman spectrometers will be included in two Mars rovers scheduled to be launched in 2020. The Raman instrument for ExoMars 2020 consists of three main units: (1) a transmission spectrograph coupled to a CCD detector; (2) an electronics box, including the excitation laser that controls the instrument functions; and (3) an optical head with an autofocus mechanism illuminating and collecting the scattered light from the spot under investigation. The optical head is connected to the excitation laser and the spectrometer by optical fibers. The instrument also has two targets positioned inside the rover analytical laboratory for onboard Raman spectral calibration. The aim of this article was to present a detailed description of the RLS instrument, including its operation on Mars. To verify RLS operation before launch and to prepare science scenarios for the mission, a simulator of the sample analysis chain has been developed by the team. The results obtained are also discussed. Finally, the potential of the Raman instrument for use in field conditions is addressed. By using a ruggedized prototype, also developed by our team, a wide range of terrestrial analog sites across the world have been studied. These investigations allowed preparing a large collection of real, in situ spectra of samples from different geological processes and periods of Earth evolution. On this basis, we are working

  5. Characteristics of pebble- and cobble-sized clasts along the Curiosity rover traverse from Bradbury Landing to Rocknest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yingst, R. A.; Kah, L. C.; Palucis, M.; Williams, R. M. E.; Garvin, J.; Bridges, J. C.; Bridges, N.; Deen, R. G.; Farmer, J.; Gasnault, O.; Goetz, W.; Hamilton, V. E.; Hipkin, V.; Jensen, J. K.; King, P. L.; Koefoed, A.; Le Mouélic, S. P.; Madsen, M. B.; Mangold, N.; Martinez-Frias, J.; Maurice, S.; McCartney, E. M.; Newsom, H.; Pariser, O.; Sautter, V. H.; Wiens, R. C.

    2013-11-01

    have assessed the characteristics of clasts along Curiosity's traverse to shed light on the processes important in the genesis, modification, and transportation of surface materials. Pebble- to cobble-sized clasts at Bradbury Landing, and subsequently along Curiosity's traverse to Yellowknife Bay, reflect a mixing of two end-member transport mechanisms. The general clast population likely represents material deposited via impact processes, including meteorite fragments, ejecta from distant craters, and impactites consisting of shocked and shock-melted materials from within Gale Crater, which resulted predominantly in larger, angular clasts. A subset of rounded pebble-sized clasts has likely been modified by intermittent alluvial or fluvial processes. The morphology of this rounded clast population indicates that water was a more important transporting agent here than at other Mars sites that have been studied in situ. Finally, we identified populations of basalt clasts and porphyritic clasts of undetermined composition by their morphologic and textural characteristics; basalts are confirmed by geochemical data provided by ChemCam.

  6. Martian Chlorobenzene Identified by Curiosity in Yellowknife Bay: Evidence for the Preservation of Organics in a Mudstone on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glavin, Daniel P.; Freissinet, Caroline; Mahaffy, P.; Miller, K.; Eigenbrode, J.; Summons, R.; Martin, M.; Franz, H.; Steele, A.; Archer, D.; Atreya, S.; Brickenhoff, W.; Conrad, P.; DesMarais, D.; Dworkin, J.; Malespin, C.; McAdam, A.; Ming, D.; Pavlov, A.; Stern, J.; Brunner, A.; Buch, A.; Grotzinger, J.; Kashyap, S.; Squyres, S.

    2015-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity rover is designed to determine the inventory of organic and inorganic volatiles thermally evolved from solid samples using a combination of evolved gas analysis (EGA), gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS), and tunable laser spectroscopy. The first sample analyzed by SAM at the Rocknest (RN) aeolian deposit revealed chlorohydrocarbons derived primarily from reactions between a martian oxychlorine phase (e.g. perchlorate) and terrestrial carbon from N-methyl-N-(tert-butyldimethylsilyl) trifluoroacetamide (MTBSTFA) vapor present in the SAM instrument background. No conclusive evidence for martian chlorohydrocarbons in the RN sand was found. After RN, Curiosity traveled to Yellowknife Bay and drilled two holes separated by 2.75 m designated John Klein (JK) and Cumberland (CB). Analyses of JK and CB by both SAM and the CheMin x-ray diffraction instrument revealed a mudstone (called Sheepbed) consisting of approx.20 wt% smectite clays, which on Earth are known to aid the concentration and preservation of organic matter. Last year at LPSC we reported elevated abundances of chlorobenzene (CBZ) and a more diverse suite of chlorinated hydrocarbons including dichloroalkanes in CB compared to RN, suggesting that martian or meteoritic organic compounds may be preserved in the mudstone. Here we present SAM data from additional analyses of the CB sample and of Confidence Hills (CH), another drill sample collected at the base of Mt. Sharp. This new SAM data along with supporting laboratory analog experiments indicate that most of the chlorobenzene detected in CB is derived from martian organic matter preserved in the mudstone.

  7. Automated Rock Detection and Shape Analysis from Mars Rover Imagery and 3D Point Cloud Data

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Kaichang Di; Zongyu Yue; Zhaoqin Liu; Shuliang Wang

    2013-01-01

    A new object-oriented method has been developed for the extraction of Mars rocks from Mars rover data.It is based on a combination of Mars rover imagery and 3D point cloud data.First,Navcam or Pancam images taken by the Mars rovers are segmented into homogeneous objects with a mean-shift algorithm.Then,the objects in the segmented images are classified into small rock candidates,rock shadows,and large objects.Rock shadows and large objects are considered as the regions within which large rocks may exist.In these regions,large rock candidates are extracted through ground-plane fitting with the 3D point cloud data.Small and large rock candidates are combined and postprocessed to obtain the final rock extraction results.The shape properties of the rocks (angularity,circularity,width,height,and width-height ratio) have been calculated for subsequent geological studies.

  8. The potassic sedimentary rocks in Gale Crater, Mars, as seen by ChemCam on board Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le Deit, L.; Mangold, N.; Forni, O.; Cousin, A.; Lasue, J.; Schröder, S.; Wiens, R. C.; Sumner, D.; Fabre, C.; Stack, K. M.; Anderson, R. B.; Blaney, D.; Clegg, S.; Dromart, G.; Fisk, M.; Gasnault, O.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Lanza, N.; Le Mouélic, S.; Maurice, S.; McLennan, S. M.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Nachon, M.; Newsom, H.; Payré, V.; Rapin, W.; Rice, M.; Sautter, V.; Treiman, A. H.

    2016-05-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity encountered potassium-rich clastic sedimentary rocks at two sites in Gale Crater, the waypoints Cooperstown and Kimberley. These rocks include several distinct meters thick sedimentary outcrops ranging from fine sandstone to conglomerate, interpreted to record an ancient fluvial or fluvio-deltaic depositional system. From ChemCam Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) chemical analyses, this suite of sedimentary rocks has an overall mean K2O abundance that is more than 5 times higher than that of the average Martian crust. The combined analysis of ChemCam data with stratigraphic and geographic locations reveals that the mean K2O abundance increases upward through the stratigraphic section. Chemical analyses across each unit can be represented as mixtures of several distinct chemical components, i.e., mineral phases, including K-bearing minerals, mafic silicates, Fe-oxides, and Fe-hydroxide/oxyhydroxides. Possible K-bearing minerals include alkali feldspar (including anorthoclase and sanidine) and K-bearing phyllosilicate such as illite. Mixtures of different source rocks, including a potassium-rich rock located on the rim and walls of Gale Crater, are the likely origin of observed chemical variations within each unit. Physical sorting may have also played a role in the enrichment in K in the Kimberley formation. The occurrence of these potassic sedimentary rocks provides additional evidence for the chemical diversity of the crust exposed at Gale Crater.

  9. Dynamic Modeling and Soil Mechanics for Path Planning of the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trease, Brian; Arvidson, Raymond; Lindemann, Randel; Bennett, Keith; Zhou, Feng; Iagnemma, Karl; Senatore, Carmine; Van Dyke, Lauren

    2011-01-01

    To help minimize risk of high sinkage and slippage during drives and to better understand soil properties and rover terramechanics from drive data, a multidisciplinary team was formed under the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project to develop and utilize dynamic computer-based models for rover drives over realistic terrains. The resulting tool, named ARTEMIS (Adams-based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Interaction Simulator), consists of the dynamic model, a library of terramechanics subroutines, and the high-resolution digital elevation maps of the Mars surface. A 200-element model of the rovers was developed and validated for drop tests before launch, using MSC-Adams dynamic modeling software. Newly modeled terrain-rover interactions include the rut-formation effect of deformable soils, using the classical Bekker-Wong implementation of compaction resistances and bull-dozing effects. The paper presents the details and implementation of the model with two case studies based on actual MER telemetry data. In its final form, ARTEMIS will be used in a predictive manner to assess terrain navigability and will become part of the overall effort in path planning and navigation for both Martian and lunar rovers.

  10. The Evolution of Three Dimensional Visualization for Commanding the Mars Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hartman, Frank R.; Wright, John; Cooper, Brian

    2014-01-01

    NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has built and operated four rovers on the surface of Mars. Two and three dimensional visualization has been extensively employed to command both the mobility and robotic arm operations of these rovers. Stereo visualization has been an important component in this set of visualization techniques. This paper discusses the progression of the implementation and use of visualization techniques for in-situ operations of these robotic missions. Illustrative examples will be drawn from the results of using these techniques over more than ten years of surface operations on Mars.

  11. Operations Strategies for the Mars Exploration Rovers During the 2007 Martian Global Dust Storm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seibert, Michael; Herman, Jennifer; ElDeeb, Dina

    2009-01-01

    In June and July 2007 Mars experienced a dust storm that grew to envelop all but the polar latitudes of the planet. This dust storm was the first global dust storm to occur while the twin Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) began surface operations. It is estimated that the dust in the atmosphere prevented over 99.6% of direct sunlight from reaching the surface at the peak of the storm. Data collected indicated that solar array energy output was reduced to approximately 15% of maximum. The reduction in insolation and energy output posed the greatest risk of ending the mission for both rovers at that time.

  12. Acid Sulfate Weathering on Mars: Results from the Mars Exploration Rover Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, Douglas W.; Morris, R. V.; Golden, D. C.

    2006-01-01

    Sulfur has played a major role in the formation and alteration of outcrops, rocks, and soils at the Mars Exploration Rover landing sites on Meridiani Planum and in Gusev crater. Jarosite, hematite, and evaporite sulfates (e.g., Mg and Ca sulfates) occur along with siliciclastic sediments in outcrops at Meridiani Planum. The occurrence of jarosite is a strong indicator for an acid sulfate weathering environment at Meridiani Planum. Some outcrops and rocks in the Columbia Hills in Gusev crater appear to be extensively altered as suggested by their relative softness as compared to crater floor basalts, high Fe(3+)/FeT, iron mineralogy dominated by nanophase Fe(3+) oxides, hematite and/or goethite, corundum-normative mineralogies, and the presence of Mg- and Casulfates. One scenario for aqueous alteration of these rocks and outcrops is that vapors and/or fluids rich in SO2 (volcanic source) and water interacted with rocks that were basaltic in bulk composition. Ferric-, Mg-, and Ca-sulfates, phosphates, and amorphous Si occur in several high albedo soils disturbed by the rover's wheels in the Columbia Hills. The mineralogy of these materials suggests the movement of liquid water within the host material and the subsequent evaporation of solutions rich in Fe, Mg, Ca, S, P, and Si. The presence of ferric sulfates suggests that these phases precipitated from highly oxidized, low-pH solutions. Several hypotheses that invoke acid sulfate weathering environments have been suggested for the aqueous formation of sulfate-bearing phases on the surface of Mars including (1) the oxidative weathering of ultramafic igneous rocks containing sulfides; (2) sulfuric acid weathering of basaltic materials by solutions enriched by volcanic gases (e.g., SO2); and (3) acid fog (i.e., vapors rich in H2SO4) weathering of basaltic or basaltic-derived materials.

  13. Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Investigation: Overview of Results from the First 120 Sols on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, P. R.; Cabane, M.; Webster, C. R.; Archer, P. D.; Atreya, S. K.; Benna, M.; Brinckerhoff, W. B.; Brunner, A. E.; Buch, A.; Coll, P.; hide

    2013-01-01

    During the first 120 sols of Curiosity s landed mission on Mars (8/6/2012 to 12/7/2012) SAM sampled the atmosphere 9 times and an eolian bedform named Rocknest 4 times. The atmospheric experiments utilized SAM s quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) and tunable laser spectrometer (TLS) while the solid sample experiments also utilized the gas chromatograph (GC). Although a number of core experiments were pre-programmed and stored in EEProm, a high level SAM scripting language enabled the team to optimize experiments based on prior runs.

  14. Performance Characteristics of Lithium-Ion Cells for Mars Sample Return Athena Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ratnakumar, B. V.; Smart, M. C.; Ewell, R.; Surampudi, S.; Marsh, R.

    1999-01-01

    In contrast to the primary batteries (lithium thionyl chloride) on the Sojourner Mars Rover and the upcoming 2001 Mars Rover, the Mars Sample Return (MSR) Athena Rover will utilize rechargeable lithium ion batteries, following the footsteps of MSP 2001 Lander. The MSR Athena Rover will contain a rechargeable lithium ion battery of 16 V and a total energy of 150 Wh. The mass and volume of the projected power system will be a maximum of 3 kg and 2 liters, respectively. Each battery consists of twelve cells (6-7 Ah), combined in three parallel strings of four cells (16 V) each, such that the capability of the Rover shall be maintained even in the event of one string failure. In addition to the usual requirements of high specific energy and energy density and long cycle life (100 cycles), the battery is required to operate at wide range of temperatures, especially at sub-zero temperatures down to -20 C. In this paper, we report various performance characterization tests carried out on lithium ion cells, fabricated by different manufacturers under a NASA/DoD lithium ion battery consortium.

  15. A Strategy to Integrate Probabilistic Risk Assessment into Design and Development Processes for Aerospace Based pon Mars Exploration Rover Experiences

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nunes, Jeffery; Paulos, Todd; Everline, Chester J.; Dezfuli, Homayoon

    2006-01-01

    This paper will discuss the Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) effort and its involvement with related activities during the development of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER). The Rovers were launched 2003.June.10 (Spirit) and 2003.July.7 (Opportunity), and both have proven very successful. Although designed for a 90-day mission, the Rovers have been operating for over two earth years. This paper will review aspects of how the MER project integrated PRA into the design and development process. A companion paper (Development of the Mars Exploration Rover PRA) will describe the MER PRA and design changes from those results.

  16. Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars: Characterization and Analysis of the Rocknest Sand Shadow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, David F.; Morris, Richard V.; Kocurek, G.; Morrison, S. M.; Downs, R. T.; Bish, D.; Ming, D. W.; Edgett, K. S.; Rubin, D.; Goetz, W.; Madsen, M. B.; Sullivan, R.; Gellert, R.; Campbell, I.; Treiman, A. H.; McLennan, S. M.; Yen, A. S.; Grotzinger, J.; Vaniman, D. T.; Chipera, S. J.; Achilles, C. N.; Rampe, E. B.; Sumner, D.; Meslin, P. -Y.; Maurice, S.; Forni, O.; Gasnault, O.; Fisk, M.; Schmidt, M.; Mahaffy, P.; Leshin, L. A.; Glavin, D.; Steele, A.; Freissinet, C.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Yingst, R. A.; Kah, L. C.; Bridges, N.; Lewis, K. W.; Bristow, T. F.; Farmer, J. D.; Crisp, J. A.; Stolper, E. M.; DesMarais, D. J.; Sarrazin, P.

    2013-01-01

    The Rocknest aeolian deposit is similar to aeolian features analyzed by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Spirit and Opportunity. The fraction of sand <150 micron in size contains approx. 55% crystalline material consistent with a basaltic heritage, and approx. 45% X-ray amorphous material. The amorphous component of Rocknest is Fe-rich and Si-poor, and is the host of the volatiles (H2O, O2, SO2, CO2, and Cl) detected by the Surface Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument and of the fine-grained nanophase oxide (npOx) component first described from basaltic soils analyzed by MER. The similarity between soils and aeolian materials analyzed at Gusev crater, Meridiani Planum and Gale crater implies locally sourced, globally similar basaltic materials, or globally and regionally sourced basaltic components deposited locally at all three locations.

  17. Dust deposition on the Mars Exploration Rover Panoramic Camera (Pancam) calibration targets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kinch, K.M.; Sohl-Dickstein, J.; Bell, J.F.; Johnson, J. R.; Goetz, W.; Landis, G.A.

    2007-01-01

    The Panoramic Camera (Pancam) on the Mars Exploration Rover mission has acquired in excess of 20,000 images of the Pancam calibration targets on the rovers. Analysis of this data set allows estimates of the rate of deposition and removal of aeolian dust on both rovers. During the first 150-170 sols there was gradual dust accumulation on the rovers but no evidence for dust removal. After that time there is ample evidence for both dust removal and dust deposition on both rover decks. We analyze data from early in both rover missions using a diffusive reflectance mixing model. Assuming a dust settling rate proportional to the atmospheric optical depth, we derive spectra of optically thick layers of airfall dust that are consistent with spectra from dusty regions on the Martian surface. Airfall dust reflectance at the Opportunity site appears greater than at the Spirit site, consistent with other observations. We estimate the optical depth of dust deposited on the Spirit calibration target by sol 150 to be 0.44 ?? 0.13. For Opportunity the value was 0.39 ?? 0.12. Assuming 80% pore space, we estimate that the dust layer grew at a rate of one grain diameter per ???100 sols on the Spirit calibration target. On Opportunity the rate was one grain diameter per ???125 sols. These numbers are consistent with dust deposition rates observed by Mars Pathfinder taking into account the lower atmospheric dust optical depth during the Mars Pathfinder mission. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.

  18. Onboard centralized frame tree database for intelligent space operations of the Mars Science Laboratory Rover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Won S; Diaz-Calderon, Antonio; Peters, Stephen F; Carsten, Joseph L; Leger, Chris

    2014-11-01

    Planetary surface science operations performed by robotic space systems frequently require pointing cameras at various objects and moving a robotic arm end effector tool toward specific targets. Earlier NASA Mars Exploration Rovers did not have the ability to compute actual coordinates for given object coordinate frame names and had to be provided with explicit coordinates. Since it sometimes takes hours to more than a day to get final approval of certain calculated coordinates for command uplink via the Earth-based mission operations procedures, a highly desired enhancement for future rovers was to have the onboard automated capability to compute the coordinates for a given frame name. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission is the first to have a centralized coordinate transform database to maintain the knowledge of spatial relations. This onboard intelligence significantly simplifies communication and control between Earth-based human mission operators and the robotic rover on Mars by supporting higher level abstraction of commands using object and target names instead of coordinates. More specifically, the spatial relations of many object frames are represented hierarchically in a tree data structure, called the frame tree. Individual frame transforms are populated by their respective modules that have specific knowledge of the frames. Through this onboard centralized frame tree database, client modules can query transforms between any two frames and support spacecraft commands that use any frames maintained in the frame tree. Various operational examples in the MSL mission that have greatly benefitted from this onboard centralized frame tree database are presented.

  19. Field Experiments using Telepresence and Virtual Reality to Control Remote Vehicles: Application to Mars Rover Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoker, Carol

    1994-01-01

    This paper will describe a series of field experiments to develop and demonstrate file use of Telepresence and Virtual Reality systems for controlling rover vehicles on planetary surfaces. In 1993, NASA Ames deployed a Telepresence-Controlled Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle (TROV) into an ice-covered sea environment in Antarctica. The goal of the mission was to perform scientific exploration of an unknown environment using a remote vehicle with telepresence and virtual reality as a user interface. The vehicle was operated both locally, from above a dive hole in the ice through which it was launched, and remotely over a satellite communications link from a control room at NASA's Ames Research center, for over two months. Remote control used a bidirectional Internet link to the vehicle control computer. The operator viewed live stereo video from the TROV along with a computer-gene rated graphic representation of the underwater terrain showing file vehicle state and other related information. Tile actual vehicle could be driven either from within the virtual environment or through a telepresence interface. In March 1994, a second field experiment was performed in which [lie remote control system developed for the Antarctic TROV mission was used to control the Russian Marsokhod Rover, an advanced planetary surface rover intended for launch in 1998. Marsokhod consists of a 6-wheel chassis and is capable of traversing several kilometers of terrain each day, The rover can be controlled remotely, but is also capable of performing autonomous traverses. The rover was outfitted with a manipulator arm capable of deploying a small instrument, collecting soil samples, etc. The Marsokhod rover was deployed at Amboy Crater in the Mojave desert, a Mars analog site, and controlled remotely from Los Angeles. in two operating modes: (1) a Mars rover mission simulation with long time delay and (2) a Lunar rover mission simulation with live action video. A team of planetary

  20. Remote sensing and terramechanics study of Mars using orbital and rover data sets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lichtenberg, Kimberly Ann

    Orbital observations, rover-based remote-sensing and in-situ observations, and terramechanics modeling can be used collaboratively to examine the interplay between material properties, scientific setting, and mobility issues facing rovers on other worlds. In this thesis, these types of observations are used concurrently to identify the surface properties on a regional scale for the Gusev Crater Spirit landing site, to understand how the rover interacted with these materials while driving, and as a look ahead to a candidate new landing site, Aram Chaos, with exposed materials that contain key evidence for past environmental conditions. Comparison of rover-based and orbital spectral reflectance data over Spirit's traverses show that cratered plains in Gusev Crater are dominated by nanophase ferric-oxide-rich dust covering weakly altered basaltic sands. Comparison of Mars Odyssey THEMIS-derived thermal inertia values with Mars Express OMEGA-derived spectral parameters shows that although the dust cover can be optically thick (0.4 to 2.5 mum wavelength region) in some areas, it is not thick enough (˜1 cm) to mask the thermal inertia of the underlying substrate. Mobility in the above materials with a five-wheeled rover---Spirit's right front drive actuator is non-functioning---is analyzed in a modeling environment to assess mobility issues facing current and future rovers, specifically how to minimize the effect of an inoperable wheel on rover mobility and determining the rolling resistance of an embedded rover. This includes generation and use of mobility hazard maps as a tactical planning tool. A detailed stratigraphic and mineralogical description of a candidate new landing site, Aram Chaos (˜3°N, 339°E), is presented based on orbital data primarily from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Two sedimentary units overlie the basement chaos material representing the original plains fill in Aram Crater: the first and oldest is comprised of ferric hydroxysulfate

  1. Gas-Chromatographic analysis of Mars soil samples with the SAM instrument onboard Curiosity - the 359 first sols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szopa, Cyril; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; Mahaffy, Paul; Buch, Arnaud; Goutail, Jean Pierre; Cabane, Michel; Glavin, Daniel; Correia, Jean-Jacques; Coll, Patrice; Freissinet, Caroline; Meftah, Mustapha; Coscia, David; Teinturier, Samuel; Brunner, Anna; Bonnet, Jean-Yves; Millan, Maeva; Pascalin

    Amongst the SAM suite of instruments, SAM-GC (Gas Chromatograph) is devoted to identify and quantify volatiles evolved from the thermal/chemical treatment of any soil sample collected by the Curiosity rover. The first soil samples analyzed with SAM were composed of windblown dust and sand collected at the Rocknest site, while the second site analyzed was a basin called “Yellowknife Bay” where two holes were drilled (John Klein & Cumberland) and analysis showed these sites to be a fluvio-lacustrine sediment.. For their analysis, these samples were subjected to a pyrolysis at temperatures reaching about 850°C. For SAM-GC and GCMS analyses, different fractions of pyrolysates were collected at different temperature in the ambient-900°C range in order to discriminate potential different volatile fractions present in the solid sample. With the aim to search for potential organic molecules outgassed from the samples, a SAM-GC analytical channel composed of a thermal-desorption injector and a MXT-CLP chromatographic column was used as it was designed for the separation of a wide range of volatile organic molecules. This channel is also equipped with a thermal conductivity detector (TCD) capable to detect the most abundant species (with abundances down to approximately 10-10mol). His channel is thus complementary to the mass spectrometer detection for quantification of such species, as this last instrument does not have linear response in this domain of high abundance, whereas it is significantly more sensitive than the TCD. The results obtained with this instrument first show that the performances of SAM-GC is representative of those obtained during calibrations of the instrument in laboratory, and also that results are repeatable. Hence, the instrument performs nominally, making it the first GCMS running successfully on Mars since the Viking missions (middle of the 70’s). Moreover, the complementarity of GC towards MS is also shown, both by allowing the

  2. Design and Preliminary Thermal Performance of the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Heat Exchangers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mastropietro, A. J.; Beatty, John; Kelly, Frank; Birur, Gajanana; Bhandari, Pradeep; Pauken, Michael; Illsley, Peter; Liu, Yuanming; Bame, David; Miller, Jennifer

    2010-01-01

    The challenging range of proposed landing sites for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover requires a rover thermal management system that is capable of keeping temperatures controlled across a wide variety of environmental conditions. On the Martian surface where temperatures can be as cold as -123 degrees Centigrade and as warm as 38 degrees Centigrade, the Rover relies upon a Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop (MPFL) and external radiators to maintain the temperature of sensitive electronics and science instruments within a -40 degrees Centigrade to 50 degrees Centigrade range. The MPFL also manages significant waste heat generated from the Rover power source, known as the Multi Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG). The MMRTG produces 110 Watts of electrical power while generating waste heat equivalent to approximately 2000 Watts. Two similar Heat Exchanger (HX) assemblies were designed to both acquire the heat from the MMRTG and radiate waste heat from the onboard electronics to the surrounding Martian environment. Heat acquisition is accomplished on the interior surface of each HX while heat rejection is accomplished on the exterior surface of each HX. Since these two surfaces need to be at very different temperatures in order for the MPFL to perform efficiently, they need to be thermally isolated from one another. The HXs were therefore designed for high in-plane thermal conductivity and extremely low through-thickness thermal conductivity by using aerogel as an insulator inside composite honeycomb sandwich panels. A complex assembly of hand welded and uniquely bent aluminum tubes are bonded onto the HX panels and were specifically designed to be easily mated and demated to the rest of the Rover Heat Recovery and Rejection System (RHRS) in order to ease the integration effort. During the cruise phase to Mars, the HX assemblies serve the additional function of transferring heat from the Rover MPFL to the separate Cruise Stage MPFL so that heat

  3. Mastcam-Z: Designing a Geologic, Stereoscopic, and Multispectral Pair of Zoom Cameras for the NASA Mars 2020 Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J. F.; Maki, J. N.; Mehall, G. L.; Ravine, M. A.; Caplinger, M. A.; Mastcam-Z Team

    2016-10-01

    Mastcam-Z is a stereoscopic, multispectral imaging investigation selected for flight on the Mars 2020 rover mission. In this presentation we review our science goals and requirements and describe our CDR-level design and operational plans.

  4. The Search for Organic Compounds of Martian Origin in Gale Crater by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument on Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glavin, Daniel; Freissinet, Caroline; Mahaffy, Paul; Miller, Kristen; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Summons, Roger; Archer, Douglas, Jr.; Brunner, Anna; Martin, Mildred; Buch, Arrnaud; Cabane, Michel; Coll, Patrice; Conrad, Pamela; Dworkin, Jason; Grotzinger, John; Ming, Douglas; Navarro-Gonzales, Rafael; Steele, Andrew; Szopa, Cyril

    2014-01-01

    One of the key objectives of the Mars Science Laboratory rover and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite is to determine the inventory of organic and inorganic volatiles in the atmosphere and surface regolith and rocks to help assess the habitability potential of Gale Crater. The SAM instrument on the Curiosity rover can detect volatile organic compounds thermally evolved from solid samples using a combination of evolved gas analysis (EGA) and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) (Mahaffy et al. 2012). The first solid samples analyzed by SAM, a scoop of windblown dust and sand at Rocknest, revealed several chloromethanes and a C4-chlorinated hydrocarbon derived primarily from reactions between a martian oxychlorine phase (e.g. perchlorate) and terrestrial carbon from N-methyl-N-(tertbutyldimethylsilyl)- trifluoroacetamide (MTBSTFA) vapor present in the SAM instrument background (Glavin et al. 2013). After the analyses at Rocknest, Curiosity traveled to Yellowknife Bay and drilled two separate holes in a fluvio-lacustrine sediment (the Sheepbed unit) designated John Klein and Cumberland. Analyses of the drilled materials by both SAM and the CheMin X-Ray Diffraction instrument revealed a mudstone consisting of 20 wt% smectite clays (Ming et al. 2013; Vaniman et al. 2013), which on Earth are known to aid the concentration and preservation of organic matter. Oxychlorine compounds were also detected in the Sheepbed mudstone during pyrolysis; however, in contrast to Rocknest, much higher levels of chloromethanes were released from the Sheepbed materials, suggesting an additional, possibly martian source of organic carbon (Ming et al. 2013). In addition, elevated abundances of chlorobenzene and a more diverse suite of chlorinated alkanes including dichloropropane and dichlorobutane detected in Cumberland compared to Rocknest suggest that martian or meteoritic organic carbon sources may be preserved in the mudstone (Freissinet et al. 2013

  5. Overview of the Mars Science Laboratory mission: Bradbury Landing to Yellowknife Bay and beyond

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Vasavada, A. R; Grotzinger, J. P; Arvidson, R. E; Calef, F. J; Crisp, J. A; Gupta, S; Hurowitz, J; Mangold, N; Maurice, S; Schmidt, M. E; Wiens, R. C; Williams, R. M. E; Yingst, R. A

    2014-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory mission reached Bradbury Landing in August 2012. In its first 500 sols, the rover Curiosity was commissioned and began its investigation of the habitability of past and present environments within Gale Crater...

  6. Automated science target selection for future Mars rovers: A machine vision approach for the future ESA ExoMars 2018 rover mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tao, Yu; Muller, Jan-Peter

    2013-04-01

    The ESA ExoMars 2018 rover is planned to perform autonomous science target selection (ASTS) using the approaches described in [1]. However, the approaches shown to date have focused on coarse features rather than the identification of specific geomorphological units. These higher-level "geoobjects" can later be employed to perform intelligent reasoning or machine learning. In this work, we show the next stage in the ASTS through examples displaying the identification of bedding planes (not just linear features in rock-face images) and the identification and discrimination of rocks in a rock-strewn landscape (not just rocks). We initially detect the layers and rocks in 2D processing via morphological gradient detection [1] and graph cuts based segmentation [2] respectively. To take this further requires the retrieval of 3D point clouds and the combined processing of point clouds and images for reasoning about the scene. An example is the differentiation of rocks in rover images. This will depend on knowledge of range and range-order of features. We show demonstrations of these "geo-objects" using MER and MSL (released through the PDS) as well as data collected within the EU-PRoViScout project (http://proviscout.eu). An initial assessment will be performed of the automated "geo-objects" using the OpenSource StereoViewer developed within the EU-PRoViSG project (http://provisg.eu) which is released in sourceforge. In future, additional 3D measurement tools will be developed within the EU-FP7 PRoViDE2 project, which started on 1.1.13. References: [1] M. Woods, A. Shaw, D. Barnes, D. Price, D. Long, D. Pullan, (2009) "Autonomous Science for an ExoMars Rover-Like Mission", Journal of Field Robotics Special Issue: Special Issue on Space Robotics, Part II, Volume 26, Issue 4, pages 358-390. [2] J. Shi, J. Malik, (2000) "Normalized Cuts and Image Segmentation", IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Volume 22. [3] D. Shin, and J.-P. Muller (2009

  7. Twee jaar speuren naar leven op Mars: Robotwagen Curiosity veilig geland op Mars en klaar voor zijn missie (article by Jesse van Regenmortel)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kate, I.L. ten

    2012-01-01

    Na een ruimtereis van meer dan acht maanden is de robotwagen Curiosity gisterochtend vroeg veilig en wel geland op Mars. In het controlecentrum van NASA heerste euforie toen het nieuws bevestigd werd. Want elke misstap had de ruimtevaartorganisatie twee miljard euro kunnen kosten.

  8. REMS: the environmental sensor suite for the Mars Science Laboratory rover

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) will investigate environ- mental factors directly tied to current habitability at the Martian surface during the Mars Sci- ence Laboratory (MSL) mission. Three major habitability factors are addressed by REMS: the thermal environment, ultraviolet irradiation, and water cycling. The thermal environment is determined by a mixture of processes, chief amongst these being the meteorological. Ac- cordingly, the REMS sensors have been ...

  9. The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station Ground Temperature Sensor: A Pyrometer for Measuring Ground Temperature on Mars

    OpenAIRE

    2010-01-01

    We describe the parameters that drive the design and modeling of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) Ground Temperature Sensor (GTS), an instrument aboard NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, and report preliminary test results. REMS GTS is a lightweight, low-power, and low cost pyrometer for measuring the Martian surface kinematic temperature. The sensor’s main feature is its innovative design, based on a simple mechanical structure with no moving parts. It includes an in-flight cal...

  10. 3D Vision on Mars: Stereo processing and visualizations for NASA and ESA rover missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huber, Ben

    2016-07-01

    Three dimensional (3D) vision processing is an essential component of planetary rover mission planning and scientific data analysis. Standard ground vision processing products are digital terrain maps, panoramas, and virtual views of the environment. Such processing is currently developed for the PanCam instrument of ESA's ExoMars Rover mission by the PanCam 3D Vision Team under JOANNEUM RESEARCH coordination. Camera calibration, quality estimation of the expected results and the interfaces to other mission elements such as operations planning, rover navigation system and global Mars mapping are a specific focus of the current work. The main goals of the 3D Vision team in this context are: instrument design support & calibration processing: Development of 3D vision functionality Visualization: development of a 3D visualization tool for scientific data analysis. 3D reconstructions from stereo image data during the mission Support for 3D scientific exploitation to characterize the overall landscape geomorphology, processes, and the nature of the geologic record using the reconstructed 3D models. The developed processing framework PRoViP establishes an extensible framework for 3D vision processing in planetary robotic missions. Examples of processing products and capabilities are: Digital Terrain Models, Ortho images, 3D meshes, occlusion, solar illumination-, slope-, roughness-, and hazard-maps. Another important processing capability is the fusion of rover and orbiter based images with the support of multiple missions and sensors (e.g. MSL Mastcam stereo processing). For 3D visualization a tool called PRo3D has been developed to analyze and directly interpret digital outcrop models. Stereo image products derived from Mars rover data can be rendered in PRo3D, enabling the user to zoom, rotate and translate the generated 3D outcrop models. Interpretations can be digitized directly onto the 3D surface, and simple measurements of the outcrop and sedimentary features

  11. (Nearly) Seven Years on Mars: Adventure, Adversity, and Achievements with the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J. F.; Mars Exploration Rover Science; Engineering Teams

    2010-12-01

    NASA successfully landed twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, on Mars in January 2004, in the most ambitious mission of robotic exploration attempted to that time. Each rover is outfitted as a robot field geologist with an impressive array of scientific instruments--cameras, spectrometers, other sensors--designed to investigate the composition and geologic history of two distinctly-different landing sites. The sites were chosen because of their potential to reveal clues about the past history of water and climate on Mars, and thus to provide tests of the hypothesis that the planet may once have been an abode for life. In this presentation I will review the images, spectra, and chemical/mineralogic information that the rover team has been acquiring from the landing sites and along the rovers' 7.7 and 22.7 km traverse paths, respectively. The data and interpretations have been widely shared with the public and the scientific community through web sites, frequent press releases, and scientific publications, and they provide quantitative evidence that liquid water has played a role in the modification of the Martian surface during the earliest part of the planet's history. At the Spirit site in Gusev Crater, the role of water appears to have been relatively minor in general, although the recent discovery of enigmatic hydrated sulfate salt and amorphous silica deposits suggests that locally there may have been significant water-rock interactions, and perhaps even sustained hydrothermal activity. At the Opportunity site in Meridiani Planum, geologic and mineralogic evidence suggests that liquid water was stable at the surface and shallow subsurface for significant periods of early Martian geologic history. An exciting implication from both missions is that localized environments on early Mars may have been "habitable" by some terrestrial standards. As of early September 2010, the rovers had operated for 2210 and 2347 Martian days (sols), respectively, with the Spirit

  12. Rover imaging system for the Mars rover/sample return mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    1993-02-01

    In the past year, the conceptual design of a panoramic imager for the Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR) Pathfinder was finished. A prototype camera was built and its performace in the laboratory was tested. The performance of this camera was excellent. Based on this work, we have recently proposed a small, lightweight, rugged, and highly capable Mars Surface Imager (MSI) instrument for the MESUR Pathfinder mission. A key aspect of our approach to optimization of the MSI design is that we treat image gathering, coding, and restoration as a whole, rather than as separate and independent tasks. Our approach leads to higher image quality, especially in the representation of fine detail with good contrast and clarity, without increasing either the complexity of the camera or the amount of data transmission. We have made significant progress over the past year in both the overall MSI system design and in the detailed design of the MSI optics. We have taken a simple panoramic camera and have upgraded it substantially to become a prototype of the MSI flight instrument. The most recent version of the camera utilizes miniature wide-angle optics that image directly onto a 3-color, 2096-element CCD line array. There are several data-taking modes, providing resolution as high as 0.3 mrad/pixel. Analysis tasks that were performed or that are underway with the test data from the prototype camera include the following: construction of 3-D models of imaged scenes from stereo data, first for controlled scenes and later for field scenes; and checks on geometric fidelity, including alignment errors, mast vibration, and oscillation in the drive system. We have outlined a number of tasks planned for Fiscal Year '93 in order to prepare us for submission of a flight instrument proposal for MESUR Pathfinder.

  13. Gale crater and impact processes - Curiosity's first 364 Sols on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newsom, Horton E.; Mangold, Nicolas; Kah, Linda C.; Williams, Joshua M.; Arvidson, Ray E.; Stein, Nathan; Ollila, Ann M.; Bridges, John C.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; King, Penelope L.; Grant, John A.; Pinet, Patrick; Bridges, Nathan T.; Calef, Fred; Wiens, Roger C.; Spray, John G.; Vaniman, David T.; Elston, Wolf E.; Berger, Jeff A.; Garvin, James B.; Palucis, Marisa C.

    2015-03-01

    Impact processes at all scales have been involved in the formation and subsequent evolution of Gale crater. Small impact craters in the vicinity of the Curiosity MSL landing site and rover traverse during the 364 Sols after landing have been studied both from orbit and the surface. Evidence for the effect of impacts on basement outcrops may include loose blocks of sandstone and conglomerate, and disrupted (fractured) sedimentary layers, which are not obviously displaced by erosion. Impact ejecta blankets are likely to be present, but in the absence of distinct glass or impact melt phases are difficult to distinguish from sedimentary/volcaniclastic breccia and conglomerate deposits. The occurrence of individual blocks with diverse petrological characteristics, including igneous textures, have been identified across the surface of Bradbury Rise, and some of these blocks may represent distal ejecta from larger craters in the vicinity of Gale. Distal ejecta may also occur in the form of impact spherules identified in the sediments and drift material. Possible examples of impactites in the form of shatter cones, shocked rocks, and ropy textured fragments of materials that may have been molten have been observed, but cannot be uniquely confirmed. Modification by aeolian processes of craters smaller than 40 m in diameter observed in this study, are indicated by erosion of crater rims, and infill of craters with aeolian and airfall dust deposits. Estimates for resurfacing suggest that craters less than 15 m in diameter may represent steady state between production and destruction. The smallest candidate impact crater observed is ∼0.6 m in diameter. The observed crater record and other data are consistent with a resurfacing rate of the order of 10 mm/Myr; considerably greater than the rate from impact cratering alone, but remarkably lower than terrestrial erosion rates.

  14. Planetary micro-rover operations on Mars using a Bayesian framework for inference and control

    Science.gov (United States)

    Post, Mark A.; Li, Junquan; Quine, Brendan M.

    2016-03-01

    With the recent progress toward the application of commercially-available hardware to small-scale space missions, it is now becoming feasible for groups of small, efficient robots based on low-power embedded hardware to perform simple tasks on other planets in the place of large-scale, heavy and expensive robots. In this paper, we describe design and programming of the Beaver micro-rover developed for Northern Light, a Canadian initiative to send a small lander and rover to Mars to study the Martian surface and subsurface. For a small, hardware-limited rover to handle an uncertain and mostly unknown environment without constant management by human operators, we use a Bayesian network of discrete random variables as an abstraction of expert knowledge about the rover and its environment, and inference operations for control. A framework for efficient construction and inference into a Bayesian network using only the C language and fixed-point mathematics on embedded hardware has been developed for the Beaver to make intelligent decisions with minimal sensor data. We study the performance of the Beaver as it probabilistically maps a simple outdoor environment with sensor models that include uncertainty. Results indicate that the Beaver and other small and simple robotic platforms can make use of a Bayesian network to make intelligent decisions in uncertain planetary environments.

  15. Organic molecules in the Sheepbed Mudstone, Gale Crater, Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Freissinet, C.; Glavin, D. P.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Miller, K. E.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Summons, R. E.; Brunner, A. E.; Buch, A.; Szopa, C.; Archer, P. D.; Franz, H. B.; Atreya, S. K.; Brinckerhoff, W. B.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Conrad, P. G.; Des Marais, D. J.; Dworkin, J. P.; Fairén, A. G.; François, P.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Kashyap, S.; ten Kate, I. L.; Leshin, L. A.; Malespin, C. A.; Martin, M. G.; Martin-Torres, F. J.; Mcadam, A. C.; Ming, D. W.; Navarro-González, R.; Pavlov, A. A.; Prats, B. D.; Squyres, S. W.; Steele, A.; Stern, J. C.; Sumner, D. Y.; Sutter, B.; Zorzano, M. P.

    2015-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover is designed to conduct inorganic and organic chemical analyses of the atmosphere and the surface regolith and rocks to help evaluate the past and present habitability potential of Mars at Gale Crater. C

  16. Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Heat Exchangers for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mastropietro, A. J.; Beatty, John S.; Kelly, Frank P.; Bhandari, Pradeep; Bame, David P.; Liu, Yuanming; Birux, Gajanana C.; Miller, Jennifer R.; Pauken, Michael T.; Illsley, Peter M.

    2012-01-01

    The addition of the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover requires an advanced thermal control system that is able to both recover and reject the waste heat from the MMRTG as needed in order to maintain the onboard electronics at benign temperatures despite the extreme and widely varying environmental conditions experienced both on the way to Mars and on the Martian surface. Based on the previously successful Mars landed mission thermal control schemes, a mechanically pumped fluid loop (MPFL) architecture was selected as the most robust and efficient means for meeting the MSL thermal requirements. The MSL heat recovery and rejection system (HRS) is comprised of two Freon (CFC-11) MPFLs that interact closely with one another to provide comprehensive thermal management throughout all mission phases. The first loop, called the Rover HRS (RHRS), consists of a set of pumps, thermal control valves, and heat exchangers (HXs) that enables the transport of heat from the MMRTG to the rover electronics during cold conditions or from the electronics straight to the environment for immediate heat rejection during warm conditions. The second loop, called the Cruise HRS (CHRS), is thermally coupled to the RHRS during the cruise to Mars, and provides a means for dissipating the waste heat more directly from the MMRTG as well as from both the cruise stage and rover avionics by promoting circulation to the cruise stage radiators. A multifunctional structure was developed that is capable of both collecting waste heat from the MMRTG and rejecting the waste heat to the surrounding environment. It consists of a pair of honeycomb core sandwich panels with HRS tubes bonded to both sides. Two similar HX assemblies were designed to surround the MMRTG on the aft end of the rover. Heat acquisition is accomplished on the interior (MMRTG facing) surface of each HX while heat rejection is accomplished on the exterior surface of

  17. Observations of high manganese layers by the Curiosity rover at the Kimberley, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lanza, N.; Wiens, R. C.; Fischer, W. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Cousin, A.; Rice, M. S.; Clark, B. C.; Arvidson, R. E.; Hurowitz, J.; Gellert, R.; McLennan, S. M.; Maurice, S.; Mangold, N.; Le Mouelic, S.; Anderson, R. B.; Nachon, M.; Ollila, A.; Schmidt, M. E.; Berger, J. A.; Blank, J. G.; Clegg, S. M.; Forni, O.; Hardgrove, C. J.; Hardy, K.; Johnson, J. R.; Melikechi, N.; Newsom, H. E.; Sautter, V.; Martín-Torres, J.; Zorzano, M. P.

    2014-12-01

    The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft were designed to map the structure of the Moon through high-precision global gravity mapping. The mission consisted of two spacecraft with Ka-band inter-satellite tracking complemented by tracking from Earth. The mission had two phases: a primary mapping mission from March 1 until May 29, 2012 at an average altitude of 50 km, and an extended mission from August 30 until December 14, 2012, with an average altitude of 23 km before November 18, and 20 and 11 km after. High-resolution gravity field models using both these data sets have been estimated, with the current resolution being degree and order 1080 in spherical harmonics. Here, we focus on aspects of the analysis of the GRAIL data: we investigate eclipse modeling, the influence of empirical accelerations on the results, and we discuss the inversion of large-scale systems. In addition to global models we also estimated local gravity adjustments in areas of particular interest such as Mare Orientale, the south pole area, and the farside. We investigate the use of Ka-band Range Rate (KBRR) data versus numerical derivatives of KBRR data, and show that the latter have the capability to locally improve correlations with topography.

  18. Middleware and Web Services for the Collaborative Information Portal of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sinderson, Elias; Magapu, Vish; Mak, Ronald

    2004-01-01

    We describe the design and deployment of the middleware for the Collaborative Information Portal (CIP), a mission critical J2EE application developed for NASA's 2003 Mars Exploration Rover mission. CIP enabled mission personnel to access data and images sent back from Mars, staff and event schedules, broadcast messages and clocks displaying various Earth and Mars time zones. We developed the CIP middleware in less than two years time usins cutting-edge technologies, including EJBs, servlets, JDBC, JNDI and JMS. The middleware was designed as a collection of independent, hot-deployable web services, providing secure access to back end file systems and databases. Throughout the middleware we enabled crosscutting capabilities such as runtime service configuration, security, logging and remote monitoring. This paper presents our approach to mitigating the challenges we faced, concluding with a review of the lessons we learned from this project and noting what we'd do differently and why.

  19. Identification and Analysis of Landing sites for the ESA ExoMars Rover (2018)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Balme, Matthew; Bridges, John; Fawdon, Peter; Grindrod, Peter; Gupta, Sanjeev; Michalski, Joe; Conway, Susan

    2014-05-01

    The exploration and search for life on Mars forms a cornerstone of international solar system exploration. In 2018, the European Space agency will launch the ExoMars Rover and Lander to further this exploration. The key science objectives of the ExoMars Rover are to: 1) search for signs of past and present life on Mars; 2) investigate the water/geochemical environment as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface; and 3) to characterise the surface environment. To meet these objectives ExoMars will drill into the sub-surface to look for indicators of past life using a range of complementary techniques, including assessment of morphology (potential fossil organisms), mineralogy (past environments) and a search for organic molecules and their chirality (biomarkers). The choice of landing site is vital if ExoMars' scientific objectives are to be met. The landing site must: (i) be ancient (≥3.6 Ga); (ii) show abundant morphological and mineral evidence for long-term, or frequently reoccurring, aqueous activity; (iii) include numerous sedimentary outcrops that (iv) are distributed over the landing region (the typical Rover traverse range is only a few km, but the uncertainty in the location of the landing site forms an elliptical of size ~ 100 by 15 km); and (v) have little dust coverage. In addition, in order to land and operate safely, various 'engineering constraints' apply, including: (i) latitude limited to 5º S to 25º N; (ii) maximum altitude of the landing site 2 km below Mars's datum, (iii) few steep slopes within the uncertainty ellipse. These constraints are onerous. In particular, the objective to drill into sediments, the requirement for distributed targets within the ellipse, and the ellipse size, make ExoMars site selection extremely challenging. To meet these challenges, we have begun an intensive study of the martian landscape to identify as many possible ExoMars landing sites as possible. We have converted the current engineering constraints into

  20. Igneous composition vaiations determined by ChemCam along Curiosity's traverse from Bradbury to Rocknest area at Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sautter, Violaine; MSL Science Team

    2013-04-01

    Since landing in Gale Crater (-4.59, 137,44°) the rover Curiosity, has driven during the first 90 sols, 420 meter east descending ∼ 20m from the Bradbury Landing site towards Glenelg. From sols 13 on, the ChemCam instrument suite performed compositional and imaging analyses of rocks and soils along the route. Each Chem- Cam LIBS observations covers a spot between 350 and 550 μm dia thus individual observations generally do not represent the whole rock composition but rather represent individual grains or a mixture thereof. Most of observations consist of a linear 5-point raster or a 3 x 3 grid. All major elements were regularly reported together with minor and trace elements. During the traverse, two distinct zones have been characterized: Zone I, from sol 0 to sol 47 (i.e. 280 meter traverse), belongs to the Humocky terrains supposed to be a part of the alluvial fan below Peace Vallis, which descends from the crater rim to the Northwest. It is defined by abundant gravels and igneous float rocks and isolated conglomerate outcrops. Rock textures indicate a high ratio of intrusive over extrusive: plutonic rocks vary from homogenous grain size either coarse (1-3mm grains Mara) or fine grained (less than 300 m Coronation) to variable grain size within a given rock (Jake-M). Some contain abundant laths of whitish minerals. ChemCam analyses are Si-rich (up to 60% wt.% or more) together with high Al (more than 15%) and high alkali (Na > K) in a range expected for alkali feldspar compositions. The lowest Si content correlates with low Al and high Fe consistent with ferromagnesian composition. The highest Si content (Stark a white vesicular rock) could indicate the presence of quartz. Clasts analyzed in one conglomerate (Link) had a range of compositions dominated by feldspathic material consistent with loose pebbles in the area and igneous porphyroblast. Beyond Anton soil (sol48), Curiosity entered zone II, transitional to a more distal unit with respect to the fan

  1. Development of a Thermal Control Architecture for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Novak, Keith S.; Phillips, Charles J.; Birur, Gajanana C.; Sunada, Eric T.; Pauken, Michael T.

    2003-01-01

    In May and June of 2003, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will launch two roving science vehicles on their way to Mars. They will land on Mars in January and February of 2004 and carry out 90-Sol missions. This paper addresses the thermal design architecture of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) developed for Mars surface operations. The surface atmosphere temperature on Mars can vary from 0°C in the heat of the day to -100°C in the early morning, prior to sunrise. Heater usage at night must be minimized in order to conserve battery energy. The desire to minimize nighttime heater energy led to a design in which all temperature sensitive electronics and the battery were placed inside a well-insulated (carbon-opacified aerogel lined) Warm Electronics Box (WEB). In addition, radioisotope heater units (RHU's, non-electric heat sources) were mounted on the battery and electronics inside the WEB. During the Martian day, the electronics inside the WEB dissipate a large amount of energy (over 710 W*hrs). This heat energy raises the internal temperatures inside the WEB. Hardware items that have similar temperature limits were conductively coupled together to share heat and concentrate thermal mass. Thermal mass helped to minimize temperature increases in the hot case (with maximum internal dissipation) and minimize temperature decreases in the cold case (with minimum internal dissipation). In order to prevent the battery from exceeding its maximum allowable flight temperature, wax-actuated passive thermal switches were placed between the battery and an external radiator. This paper discusses the design philosophies and system requirements that resulted in a successful Mars rover thermal design.

  2. Mars Rover Model Celebration: Using Planetary Exploration To Enrich STEM Teaching In Elementary And Middle School

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A.; Ramsey, J.; Dominey, W.; Kapral, A.; Carlson, C.; Konstantinidis, I.; James, J.; Sweaney, S.; Mendez, R.

    2011-12-01

    The present aerospace engineering and science workforce is ageing. It is not clear that the US education system will produce enough qualified replacements to meet the need in the near future. Unfortunately, by the time many students get to high school, it is often too late to get them pointed toward an engineering or science career. Since some college programs require 6 units of high school mathematics for admission, students need to begin consciously preparing for a science or engineering curriculum as early as 6th or 7th grade. The challenge for educators is to convince elementary school students that science and engineering are both exciting, relevant and accessible career paths. The recent NASA Mars Rover missions capture the imagination of children, as NASA missions have done for decades. The University of Houston is in the process of developing a prototype of a flexible program that offers children an in-depth educational experience culminating in the design and construction of their own model rover. The existing prototype program is called the Mars Rover Model Celebration. It focuses on students, teachers and parents in grades 3-8. Students will design and build a model of a Mars rover to carry out a student selected science mission on the surface of Mars. The model will be a mock-up, constructed at a minimal cost from art supplies. The students will build the models as part of a project on Mars. The students will be given design criteria for a rover and will do basic research on Mars that will determine the objectives and features of their rover. This project may be used either informally as an after school club or youth group activity or formally as part of a class studying general science, earth science, solar system astronomy or robotics, or as a multi-disciplinary unit for a gifted and talented program. The program culminates in a capstone event held at the University of Houston (or other central location in the other communities that will be involved

  3. Transient atmospheric effects of the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory rover: The emission and dissipation of dust and carbazic acid

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moores, John E.; Schieber, Juergen; Kling, Alexandre M.; Haberle, Robert M.; Moore, Casey A.; Anderson, Mark S.; Katz, Ira; Yavrouian, Andre; Malin, Michael C.; Olson, Timothy; Rafkin, Scot C. R.; Lemmon, Mark T.; Sullivan, Robert J.; Comeaux, Keith; Vasavada, Ashwin R.

    2016-09-01

    Imaging during and after the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover in 2012 provides a means to examine two transitory phenomena for the first time: the settling of the plume of material raised by the powered terminal descent, and the possible dispersal of 140 kg of hydrazine into the atmosphere as fine-grained solid carbazic acid. The peri-landing images, acquired by the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) and the rover hazard cameras (Hazcams), allow the first comparison of post-landing geological assessment of surface deflation with the plume itself. Examination of the Hazcam images acquired over a period of 4011 s shows that only a small fraction (350-1000 kg) of the total mass of fine-grained surface material displaced by the landing (4000 kg) remained in the atmosphere for this duration. Furthermore, a large component of this dust occurs as particles for which the characteristic optical radius is 20-60 μm, preventing them from being substantially mixed with the atmospheric column by eddy diffusion. Examination of the MARDI record over 225 s post-landing reveals a rapidly settling component that comprised approximately 1800-2400 kg and had a larger particle size with an optical radius of 360-470 μm. The possible release of hydrazine by the sky crane stage also may have created particles of carbazic acid that would, analogous to the dust, spread through eddy diffusivity and settle to the ground. Peri-landing Hazcam images of the plume created during sky crane destruction constrains the particle radius to be either less than 23 μm or greater than 400 μm. When combined with a Lagrangian model of the atmosphere, such particle sizes suggest that the carbazic acid was either deposited very near the sky crane crash site, or was widely dispersed as small particles which would have been quickly photodissociated to volatile ammonia and carbon dioxide. Surfaces visited by the MSL rover, Curiosity, would have received at most <0.2 ppb of carbazic acid and levels

  4. The Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher (MAX-C): a potential rover mission for 2018. Final report of the Mars Mid-Range Rover Science Analysis Group (MRR-SAG) October 14, 2009.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-03-01

    This report documents the work of the Mid-Range Rover Science Analysis Group (MRR-SAG), which was assigned to formulate a concept for a potential rover mission that could be launched to Mars in 2018. Based on programmatic and engineering considerations as of April 2009, our deliberations assumed that the potential mission would use the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) sky-crane landing system and include a single solar-powered rover. The mission would also have a targeting accuracy of approximately 7 km (semimajor axis landing ellipse), a mobility range of at least 10 km, and a lifetime on the martian surface of at least 1 Earth year. An additional key consideration, given recently declining budgets and cost growth issues with MSL, is that the proposed rover must have lower cost and cost risk than those of MSL--this is an essential consideration for the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG). The MRR-SAG was asked to formulate a mission concept that would address two general objectives: (1) conduct high priority in situ science and (2) make concrete steps toward the potential return of samples to Earth. The proposed means of achieving these two goals while balancing the trade-offs between them are described here in detail. We propose the name Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher(MAX-C) to reflect the dual purpose of this potential 2018 rover mission.

  5. Results of the Alpha-Particle-X-Ray Spectrometer on Board of the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Geller, R.; Zipfel, J.; Brueckner, J.; Dreibus, G.; Lugmair, G.; Rieder, R.; Waenke, H.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Clark, B. C.; Ming, D. W.

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed at Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) is part of the instrument suite on both rovers. It is equipped with six 244Cm sources which provide x-ray excitation with alpha-particles (PIXE) and x-ray radiation (XRF). This combination allows x-ray spectroscopy of elements from Na to Br in the energy range of 0.9 to 16 keV. X-ray detectors with a high energy resolution of 160 eV at Fe K allow us to separate even closely spaced energy peaks, such as Na, Mg, Al and Si. The APXS is attached to the rover s arm and provides in-situ measurements of the chemical composition of soils, surfaces of rocks and outcrops and their abraded surfaces. This abstract gives an overview of APXS results obtained during the first year of operation on both landing sites.

  6. Principal Components Analysis of Reflectance Spectra from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mercer, C. M.; Cohen, B. A.

    2010-01-01

    In the summer of 2007 a global dust storm on Mars effectively disabled Opportunity's Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES), the primary instrument used by the Athena Science Team to identify locally unique rocks on the Martian surface. The science team needs another way to distinguish interesting rocks from their surroundings on a tactical timescale. This study was designed to develop the ability to identify locally unique rocks on the Martian surface remotely using the Mars Exploration Rovers' Panoramica Camera (PanCam) instrument. Meridiani bedrock observed by Opportunity is largely characterized by sulfate-rich sandstones and hematite spherules. Additionally, loose fragments of bedrock and "cobbles" of foreign origin collet on the surface, some of which are interpreted as meteorites.

  7. Processing of Mars Exploration Rover Imagery for Science and Operations Planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alexander, Douglass A.; Deen, Robert G.; Andres, Paul M.; Zamani, Payam; Mortensen, Helen B.; Chen, Amy C.; Cayanan, Michael K.; Hall, Jeffrey R.; Klochko, Vadim S.; Pariser, Oleg; Stanley, Carol L.; Thompson, Charles K.; Yagi, Gary M.

    2006-01-01

    The twin Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) delivered an unprecedented array of image sensors to the Mars surface. These cameras were essential for operations, science, and public engagement. The Multimission Image Processing Laboratory (MIPL) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was responsible for the first-order processing of all of the images returned by these cameras. This processing included reconstruction of the original images, systematic and ad hoc generation of a wide variety of products derived from those images, and delivery of the data to a variety of customers, within tight time constraints. A combination of automated and manual processes was developed to meet these requirements, with significant inheritance from prior missions. This paper describes the image products generated by MIPL for MER and the processes used to produce and deliver them.

  8. Characteristics of pebble and cobble-sized clasts along the Curiosity rover traverse from sol 100 to 750: Terrain types, potential sources, and transport mechanisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yingst, R. A.; Cropper, K.; Gupta, S.; Kah, L. C.; Williams, R. M. E.; Blank, J.; Calef, F.; Hamilton, V. E.; Lewis, K.; Shechet, J.; McBride, M.; Bridges, N.; Frias, J. Martinez; Newsom, H.

    2016-12-01

    We combine the results of orbitally-derived morphologic and thermal inertia data with in situ observations of abundance, size, morphologic characteristics, and distribution of pebble- to cobble-sized clasts along the Curiosity rover traverse. Our goals are to characterize rock sources and transport history, and improve our ability to predict upcoming terrain. There are ten clast types, with nine types interpreted as sedimentary rocks. Only Type 3 clasts had morphologies indicative of significant wear through transport; thus, most clast types are indicative of nearby outcrops or prior presence of laterally extensive sedimentary rock layers, consistent with the erosional landscape. A minor component may reflect impact delivery of more distant material. Types 1 and 4 are heavily-cemented sandstones, likely associated with a "caprock" layer. Types 5 and 6 (and possibly 7) are pebble-rich sandstones, with varying amounts of cement leading to varying susceptibility to erosion/wear. Type 3 clasts are rounded pebbles likely transported and deposited alluvially, then worn out of pebbly sandstone/conglomerate. Types 9 and 10 are poorly-sorted sandstones, with Type 9 representing fragments of Square Top-type layers, and Type 10 deriving from basal or other Mt. Sharp layers. Types 2, 8 and 9 are considered exotics. There are few clear links between clast type and terrain surface roughness (particularly in identifying terrain that is challenging for the rover to navigate). Orbital data may provide a reasonable prediction of certain end-member terrains but the complex interplay between variables that contribute to surface characteristics makes discriminating between terrain types from orbital data problematic. Prediction would likely be improved through higher-resolution thermal inertia data.

  9. Ground Truthing Orbital Clay Mineral Observations with the APXS Onboard Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schroeder, C.; Gellert, R.; VanBommel, S.; Clark, B. C.; Ming, D. W.; Mittlefehldt, D. S.; Yen, A. S.

    2016-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been exploring approximately 22 km diameter Endeavour crater since 2011. Its rim segments predate the Hesperian-age Burns formation and expose Noachian-age material, which is associated with orbital Fe3+-Mg-rich clay mineral observations [1,2]. Moving to an orders of magnitude smaller instrumental field of view on the ground, the clay minerals were challenging to pinpoint on the basis of geochemical data because they appear to be the result of near-isochemical weathering of the local bedrock [3,4]. However, the APXS revealed a more complex mineral story as fracture fills and so-called red zones appear to contain more Al-rich clay minerals [5,6], which had not been observed from orbit. These observations are important to constrain clay mineral formation processes. More detail will be added as Opportunity is heading into her 10th extended mission, during which she will investigate Noachian bedrock that predates Endeavour crater, study sedimentary rocks inside Endeavour crater, and explore a fluid-carved gully. ESA's ExoMars rover will land on Noachian-age Oxia Planum where abundant Fe3+-Mg-rich clay minerals have been observed from orbit, but the story will undoubtedly become more complex once seen from the ground.

  10. Equipping an FPGA-Based Mars Rover With an LN-200 IMU

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zola, Nicholas J.

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) currently navigating the surface of Mars are outfitted with an advanced stereovision correlation algorithm which allows them to "see" three-dimensionally and autonomously avoid obstac'les in their path. A bottleneck of this system is that it is computationally intense and requires 3 minutes of processing for every correlated image and path choice. Taking advantage of the optimization and reprogrammability of FPGAs, the Mobility Avionics lab has reduced this process to under a second. The lab is demonstrating the advancement with a prototype rover, complete with an LN-200 inertial measurement unit (IMU), which is a flight spare from MER. The LN-200 is a space-grade, six degrees-of-freedom IMU using three fiber-optic gyroscopes and three silicon accelerometers and no moving parts. It has particular power-sequencing needs and communicates with a specialized serial protocol (SDLC over RS-422), requiring specific hardware and software for proper functionality and interfacing with an FPGA. The process of incorporating the LN-200 into the system is described herein.

  11. Learning from the Mars Rover Mission: Scientific Discovery, Learning and Memory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linde, Charlotte

    2005-01-01

    Purpose: Knowledge management for space exploration is part of a multi-generational effort. Each mission builds on knowledge from prior missions, and learning is the first step in knowledge production. This paper uses the Mars Exploration Rover mission as a site to explore this process. Approach: Observational study and analysis of the work of the MER science and engineering team during rover operations, to investigate how learning occurs, how it is recorded, and how these representations might be made available for subsequent missions. Findings: Learning occurred in many areas: planning science strategy, using instrumen?s within the constraints of the martian environment, the Deep Space Network, and the mission requirements; using software tools effectively; and running two teams on Mars time for three months. This learning is preserved in many ways. Primarily it resides in individual s memories. It is also encoded in stories, procedures, programming sequences, published reports, and lessons learned databases. Research implications: Shows the earliest stages of knowledge creation in a scientific mission, and demonstrates that knowledge management must begin with an understanding of knowledge creation. Practical implications: Shows that studying learning and knowledge creation suggests proactive ways to capture and use knowledge across multiple missions and generations. Value: This paper provides a unique analysis of the learning process of a scientific space mission, relevant for knowledge management researchers and designers, as well as demonstrating in detail how new learning occurs in a learning organization.

  12. Overview of the magnetic properties experiments onboard the two Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leer, K.; Bertelsen, P.; Goetz, W.; Hviid, S. F.; Madsen, D. E.; Madsen, M. B.; Olsen, M.; The, A.

    2007-05-01

    The two Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are each equipped with seven magnets designed for three different purposes: 1. The Filter and Capture magnets collect dust from the atmosphere. The dust can be investigated by the science instruments on the robotic arm and imaged by the Panoramic Camera. Analyzes of the dust shows that the magnetic component in the martian dust is magnetite, hematite together with paramagnetic and possibly superparamagnetic compounds is responsible for the yellowish color of the dust and the presence of olivine shows that the dust is formed without any appreciable presence of water. 2. The ring shaped Sweep magnet is design to detect non-magnetic particles. The experiment has been negative so far, showing that all particles must be composite and magnetic. This experience has been used to design a new camera calibration target for the Phoenix 2007, the sweep effect significantly preventing the calibration target to get dusty during the mission. 3. The Rock Abrasion Tool magnets are design to support the Mössbauer measurements on rocks giving additional information about the magnetic minerals contained in rocks. We here report on the results from the rovers and the neer future prospective for magnetic properties experiments on Mars.

  13. Principal Components Analysis of Reflectance Spectra Returned by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mercer, C. M.; Cohen, Barbara A.

    2010-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has spent over six years exploring the Martian surface near its landing site at Meridiani Planum. Meridiani bedrock observed by the rover is largely characterized by sulfate-rich sandstones and hematite spherules, recording evidence of ancient aqueous environments [1]. The region is a deflationary surface, allowing hematite spherules, fragments of bedrock, and "cobbles" of foreign origin to collect loosely on the surface. These cobbles may be meteorites (e.g., Barberton, Heat Shield Rock, Santa Catarina) [2], or rock fragments of exotic composition derived from adjacent terranes or from the subsurface and delivered to Meridiani Planum as impact ejecta [3]. The cobbles provide a way to better understand Martian meteorites and the lithologic diversity of Meridiani Planum by examining the various rock types located there. In the summer of 2007, a global dust storm on Mars effectively disabled Opportunity's Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES), which served as the Athena Science Team s primary tool for remotely identifying rocks of interest on a tactical timescale for efficient rover planning. While efforts are ongoing to recover use of the Mini-TES, the team is currently limited to identifying rocks of interest by visual inspection of images returned from Opportunity's Panoramic Camera (Pancam). This study builds off of previous efforts to characterize cobbles at Meridiani Planum using a database of reflectance spectra extracted from Pancam 13-Filter (13F) images [3]. We analyzed the variability of rock spectra in this database and identified physical characteristics of Martian rocks that could potentially account for the observed variance. By understanding such trends, we may be able to distinguish between rock types at Meridiani Planum and regain the capability to remotely identify locally unique rocks.

  14. Dust Accumulation and Solar Panel Array Performance on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turgay, Eren H.

    2004-01-01

    One of the most fundamental design considerations for any space vehicle is its power supply system. Many options exist, including batteries, fuel cells, nuclear reactors, radioisotopic thermal generators (RTGs), and solar panel arrays. Solar arrays have many advantages over other types of power generation. They are lightweight and relatively inexpensive, allowing more mass and funding to be allocated for other important devices, such as scientific instruments. For Mars applications, solar power is an excellent option, especially for long missions. One might think that dust storms would be a problem; however, while dust blocks some solar energy, it also scatters it, making it diffuse rather than beamed. Solar cells are still able to capture this diffuse energy and convert it into substantial electrical power. For these reasons, solar power was chosen to be used on the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission. The success of this mission set a precedent, as NASA engineers have selected solar power as the energy system of choice for all future Mars missions, including the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project. Solar sells have their drawbacks, however. They are difficult to manufacture and are relatively fragile. In addition, solar cells are highly sensitive to different parts of the solar spectrum, and finding the correct balance is crucial to the success of space missions. Another drawback is that the power generated is not a constant with respect to time, but rather changes with the relative angle to the sun. On Mars, dust accumulation also becomes a factor. Over time, dust settles out of the atmosphere and onto solar panels. This dust blocks and shifts the frequency of the incoming light, degrading solar cell performance. My goal is to analyze solar panel telemetry data from the two MERs (Spirit and Opportunity) in an effort to accurately model the effect of dust accumulation on solar panels. This is no easy process due to the large number of factors involved. Changing solar

  15. Dust Accumulation and Solar Panel Array Performance on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turgay, Eren H.

    2004-01-01

    One of the most fundamental design considerations for any space vehicle is its power supply system. Many options exist, including batteries, fuel cells, nuclear reactors, radioisotopic thermal generators (RTGs), and solar panel arrays. Solar arrays have many advantages over other types of power generation. They are lightweight and relatively inexpensive, allowing more mass and funding to be allocated for other important devices, such as scientific instruments. For Mars applications, solar power is an excellent option, especially for long missions. One might think that dust storms would be a problem; however, while dust blocks some solar energy, it also scatters it, making it diffuse rather than beamed. Solar cells are still able to capture this diffuse energy and convert it into substantial electrical power. For these reasons, solar power was chosen to be used on the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission. The success of this mission set a precedent, as NASA engineers have selected solar power as the energy system of choice for all future Mars missions, including the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project. Solar sells have their drawbacks, however. They are difficult to manufacture and are relatively fragile. In addition, solar cells are highly sensitive to different parts of the solar spectrum, and finding the correct balance is crucial to the success of space missions. Another drawback is that the power generated is not a constant with respect to time, but rather changes with the relative angle to the sun. On Mars, dust accumulation also becomes a factor. Over time, dust settles out of the atmosphere and onto solar panels. This dust blocks and shifts the frequency of the incoming light, degrading solar cell performance. My goal is to analyze solar panel telemetry data from the two MERs (Spirit and Opportunity) in an effort to accurately model the effect of dust accumulation on solar panels. This is no easy process due to the large number of factors involved. Changing solar

  16. Visible and near-infrared multispectral analysis of rocks at Meridiani Planum, Mars, by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farrand, W. H.; Bell, J.F.; Johnson, J. R.; Jolliff, B.L.; Knoll, A.H.; McLennan, S.M.; Squyres, S. W.; Calvin, W.M.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Morris, R.V.; Soderblom, J.; Thompson, S.D.; Watters, W.A.; Yen, A. S.

    2007-01-01

    Multispectral measurements in the visible and near infrared of rocks at Meridiani Planum by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's Pancam are described. The Pancam multispectral data show that the outcrops of the Burns formation consist of two main spectral units which in stretched 673, 535, 432 nm color composites appear buff- and purple-colored. These units are referred to as the HFS and LFS spectral units based on higher and lower values of 482 to 535 nm slope. Spectral characteristics are consistent with the LFS outcrop consisting of less oxidized, and the HFS outcrop consisting of more oxidized, iron-bearing minerals. The LFS surfaces are not as common and appear, primarily, at the distal ends of outcrop layers and on steep, more massive surfaces, locations that are subject to greater eolian erosion. Consequently, the HFS surfaces are interpreted as a weathering rind. Further inherent spectral differences between layer's and between different outcrop map units, both untouched and patches abraded by the rover's Rock Abrasion Tool, are also described. Comparisons of the spectral parameters of the Meridiani outcrop with a set of laboratory reflectance measurements of Fe3+-bearing minerals show that the field of outcrop measurements plots near the fields of hematite, ferrihydrite, poorly crystalline goethite, and schwertmannite. Rind and fracture fill materials, observed intermittently at outcrop exposures, are intermediate in their spectral character between both the HFS and LFS spectral classes and other, less oxidized, surface materials (basaltic sands, spherules, and cobbles). Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.

  17. Aram Dorsum, Candidate ExoMars Rover Landing Site: a Noachian Inverted Fluvial Channel System in Arabia Terra Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Balme, Matthew; Grindrod, Peter; Sefton-Nash, Elliot; Davis, Joel; Gupta, Sanjeev; Fawdon, Peter

    2016-04-01

    Much of Mars' Noachian-aged southern highlands is dissected by systems of fluvial channels and valleys > 3.7 Ga in age. Arabia Terra, lying between the southern highlands and the northern lowlands, is similarly ancient, yet apparently has few valley networks. This regional lack of valley networks only matches Noachian precipitation predictions from climate models if the Noachian climate was dry and cold [1]. In this scenario, highlands dissection was caused by transient flows of meltwater from large, regionally restricted ice-bodies. However, new results [2,3] show that Arabia Terra is not as poorly dissected as previously thought, and in fact there are extensive networks of inverted channel systems. Here, we describe an example of such a system - Aram Dorsum - which has been studied extensively as an ExoMars Rover candidate landing site. Aram Dorsum is an ~100 km long, 1-2 km wide, branching, flat-topped ridge system, in western Arabia Terra. We have mapped the system using CTX images, DEMs and other data. We interpret the ridge system to be fluvial in origin, preserved in positive relief due to infill and differential erosion; this working hypothesis is used as a conceptual framework for the study. Aram Dorsum is a branching, multi-level, contributory network, set in surrounding floodplains-like material. This demonstrates that it was a relatively long-lived, aggradational fluvial system, rather than an erosional outflow or bedrock-carved fluvial channel. Interestingly, the system shows little evidence for unconfined lateral channel migration, so there must have been significant bank stability. Aram Dorsum was therefore probably once a sizable river and, as just one example of many similar systems, is an exemplar for the middle part of a regional sediment transport system that could have extended from the southern highlands to the northern lowlands. Like Aram Dorsum, many of these other recently-recognized fluvial systems have an origin more consistent with

  18. Contamination Knowledge Strategy for the Mars 2020 Sample-Collecting Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farley, K. A.; Williford, K.; Beaty, D W.; McSween, H. Y.; Czaja, A. D.; Goreva, Y. S.; Hausrath, E.; Herd, C. D. K.; Humayun, M.; McCubbin, F. M.; McLennan, S. M.; Pratt, L. M.; Sephton, M. A.; Steele, A.; Weiss, B. P.; Hays, L. E.

    2017-01-01

    The Mars 2020 rover will collect carefully selected samples of rock and regolith as it explores a potentially habitable ancient environment on Mars. Using the drill, rock cores and regolith will be collected directly into ultraclean sample tubes that are hermetically sealed and, later, deposited on the surface of Mars for potential return to Earth by a subsequent mission. Thorough characterization of any contamination of the samples at the time of their analysis will be essential for achieving the objectives of Mars returned sample science (RSS). We refer to this characterization as contamination knowledge (CK), which is distinct from contamination control (CC). CC is the set of activities that limits the input of contaminating species into a sample, and is specified by requirement thresholds. CK consists of identifying and characterizing both potential and realized contamination to better inform scientific investigations of the returned samples. Based on lessons learned by other sample return missions with contamination-sensitive scientific objectives, CC needs to be "owned" by engineering, but CK needs to be "owned" by science. Contamination present at the time of sample analysis will reflect the sum of contributions from all contamination vectors up to that point in time. For this reason, understanding the integrated history of contamination may be crucial for deciphering potentially confusing contaminant-sensitive observations. Thus, CK collected during the Mars sample return (MSR) campaign must cover the time period from the initiation of hardware construction through analysis of returned samples in labs on Earth. Because of the disciplinary breadth of the scientific objectives of MSR, CK must include a broad spectrum of contaminants covering inorganic (i.e., major, minor, and trace elements), organic, and biological molecules and materials.

  19. Methods and decision making on a Mars rover for identification of fossils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eberlein, Susan; Yates, Gigi

    1989-01-01

    A system for automated fusion and interpretation of image data from multiple sensors, including multispectral data from an imaging spectrometer is being developed. Classical artificial intelligence techniques and artificial neural networks are employed to make real time decision based on current input and known scientific goals. Emphasis is placed on identifying minerals which could indicate past life activity or an environment supportive of life. Multispectral data can be used for geological analysis because different minerals have characteristic spectral reflectance in the visible and near infrared range. Classification of each spectrum into a broad class, based on overall spectral shape and locations of absorption bands is possible in real time using artificial neural networks. The goal of the system is twofold: multisensor and multispectral data must be interpreted in real time so that potentially interesting sites can be flagged and investigated in more detail while the rover is near those sites; and the sensed data must be reduced to the most compact form possible without loss of crucial information. Autonomous decision making will allow a rover to achieve maximum scientific benefit from a mission. Both a classical rule based approach and a decision neural network for making real time choices are being considered. Neural nets may work well for adaptive decision making. A neural net can be trained to work in two steps. First, the actual input state is mapped to the closest of a number of memorized states. After weighing the importance of various input parameters, the net produces an output decision based on the matched memory state. Real time, autonomous image data analysis and decision making capabilities are required for achieving maximum scientific benefit from a rover mission. The system under development will enhance the chances of identifying fossils or environments capable of supporting life on Mars

  20. Estimates of power requirements for a manned Mars rover powered by a nuclear reactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morley, Nicholas J.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Cataldo, Robert; Bloomfield, Harvey

    1991-01-01

    This paper assesses the power requirement for a Manned Mars Rover vehicle. Auxiliary power needs are fulfilled using a hybrid solar photovoltaic/regenerative fuel cell system, while the primary power needs are met using an SP-100 type reactor. The primary electric power needs, which include 30-kWe net user power, depend on the reactor thermal power and the efficiency of the power conversion system. Results show that an SP-100 type reactor coupled to a Free Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) yields the lowest total vehicle mass and lowest specific mass for the power system. The second lowest mass was for a SP-100 reactor coupled to a Closed Brayton Cycle (CBC) using He/Xe as the working fluid. The specific mass of the nuclear reactor power systrem, including a man-rated radiation shield, ranged from 150-kg/kWe to 190-kg/kWe and the total mass of the Rover vehicle varied depend upon the cruising speed.

  1. Performance Testing of Lithium Li-ion Cells and Batteries in Support of JPL's 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smart, Marshall C.; Ratnakumar, B. V.; Ewell, R. C.; Whitcanack, L. D.; Surampudi, S.; Puglia, F.; Gitzendanner, R.

    2007-01-01

    In early 2004, JPL successfully landed two Rovers, named Spirit and Opportunity, on the surface of Mars after traveling > 300 million miles over a 6-7 month period. In order to operate for extended duration on the surface of Mars, both Rovers are equipped with rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, which were designed to aid in the launch, correct anomalies during cruise, and support surface operations in conjunction with a triple-junction deployable solar arrays. The requirements of the Lithium-ion battery include the ability to provide power at least 90 sols on the surface of Mars, operate over a wide temperature range (-20(super 0)C to +40(super 0)C), withstand long storage periods (e.g., including pre-launch and cruise period), operate in an inverted position, and support high currents (e.g., firing pyro events). In order to determine the inability of meeting these requirements, ground testing was performed on a Rover Battery Assembly Unit RBAU), consisting of two 8-cell 8 Ah lithium-ion batteries connected in parallel. The RBAU upon which the performance testing was performed is nearly identical to the batteries incorporated into the two Rovers currently on Mars. The primary focus of this paper is to communicate the latest results regarding Mars surface operation mission simulation testing, as well as, the corresponding performance capacity loss and impedance characteristics as a function of temperature and life. As will be discussed, the lithium-ion batteries (fabricated by Yardney Technical Products, Inc.) have been demonstrated to far exceed the requirements defined by the mission, being able to support the operation of the rovers for over three years, and are projected to support an even further extended mission.

  2. The Antarctic permafrost as a testbed for REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station-Mars Science Laboratory)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esteban, B.; Ramos, M.; Sebastián, E.; Armiens, C.; Gómez-Elvira, J.; Cabos, W.; de Pablo, M. A.

    2009-04-01

    The present climatic characteristics of Mars favor the presence of extense permafrost areas in this lonely planet. Therefore environmental parameters that are included in Martian Rover missions are also used for monitoring thermal soil surface evolution in order to study the permafrost active layer thickness and the energy balance in the soil-atmosphere boundary limit layer. The REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station) is an environmental station designed by the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB- Spain) with the collaboration of national and international partners (CRISA/EADS, UPC and FMI), which is part of the payload of the MSL (Mars Science Laboratory) NASA mission to Mars (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/overview/). This mission is expected to be launched in the final months of 2009, and mainly consists of a Rover, with a complete set of scientific instruments; the Rover will carry the biggest, most advanced suite of instruments for scientific studies ever sent to the Martian surface. Five sensors compose the REMS instrument: ground (GT-REMS) and air temperatures, wind speed and direction, pressure, humidity and ultraviolet radiation (UV-REMS). A simplified setup of the REMS was deployed on Antarctica in the surroundings of the Spanish Antarctic Stations on Livingston and Deception Islands (Maritime Antarctica), where the permafrost distribution is well-known. The aim of the experiment was to check REMS's sensors response against hard environmental conditions and calibrates their measures with standard Antarctic devices. The experimental apparatuses included some standard meteorological and thermopiles sensors corresponding to the REMS. All the sensors are mounted in a 1.8 m mast and include a Pt100 air temperature sensor with shield solar protection on the mast top, a Kipp and Zonnen CNR1 net radiometer for measuring infrared (5-50 μm) and short wave solar (305-2800 nm) radiation at 1.5 m high, GT-REMS sensor and its amplification box at 0.7 m high and finally

  3. The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station Ground Temperature Sensor: A Pyrometer for Measuring Ground Temperature on Mars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miguel Ramos

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available We describe the parameters that drive the design and modeling of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS Ground Temperature Sensor (GTS, an instrument aboard NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, and report preliminary test results. REMS GTS is a lightweight, low-power, and low cost pyrometer for measuring the Martian surface kinematic temperature. The sensor’s main feature is its innovative design, based on a simple mechanical structure with no moving parts. It includes an in-flight calibration system that permits sensor recalibration when sensor sensitivity has been degraded by deposition of dust over the optics. This paper provides the first results of a GTS engineering model working in a Martian-like, extreme environment.

  4. Note: Planetary gravities made simple: Sample test of a Mars rover wheel

    Science.gov (United States)

    Viera-López, G.; Serrano-Muñoz, A.; Amigó-Vega, J.; Cruzata, O.; Altshuler, E.

    2017-08-01

    We introduce an instrument for a wide spectrum of experiments on gravities other than our planet's. It is based on a large Atwood machine where one of the loads is a bucket equipped with a single board computer and different sensors. The computer is able to detect the falling (or rising) and then the stabilization of the effective gravity and to trigger actuators depending on the experiment. Gravities within the range 0.4 g-1.2 g are easily achieved with acceleration noise of the order of 0.01 g. Under Martian gravity, we are able to perform experiments of approximately 1.5 s duration. The system includes features such as WiFi and a web interface with tools for the setup, monitoring, and data analysis of the experiment. We briefly show a case study in testing the performance of a model Mars rover wheel in low gravities.

  5. Indicators and Methods to Understand Past Environments from ExoMars Rover Drills

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kereszturi, A.; Bradak, B.; Chatzitheodoridis, E.; Ujvari, G.

    2016-03-01

    Great advances are expected during the analysis of drilled material acquired from 2 m depth by ExoMars rover, supported by the comparison to local context, and the joint use of different instruments. Textural information might be less detailed relatively to what is usually obtained at outcrops during classical geological field work on the Earth, partly because of the lack of optical imaging of the borehole wall and also because the collected samples are crushed. However sub-mm scale layering and some other sedimentary features might be identified in the borehole wall observations, or in the collected sample prior to crushing, and also at nearby outcrops. The candidate landing sites provide different targets and focus for research: Oxia Planum requires analysis of phyllosilicates and OH content, at Mawrth Vallis the layering of various phyllosilicates and the role of shallow-subsurface leaching should be emphasized. At Aram Dorsum the particle size and fluvial sedimentary features will be interesting. Hydrated perchlorates and sulphates are ideal targets possibly at every landing sites because of OH retention, especially if they are mixed with smectites, thus could point to even ancient wet periods. Extensive use of information from the infrared wall scanning will be complemented for geological context by orbital and rover imaging of nearby outcrops. Information from the context is especially useful to infer the possible action of past H2O. Separation of the ice and liquid water effects will be supported by cation abundance and sedimentary context. Shape of grains also helps here, and composition of transported grains points to the weathering potential of the environment in general. The work on Mars during the drilling and sample analysis will provide brand new experience and knowledge for future missions.

  6. Indicators and Methods to Understand Past Environments from ExoMars Rover Drills

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kereszturi, A.; Bradak, B.; Chatzitheodoridis, E.; Ujvari, G.

    2016-11-01

    Great advances are expected during the analysis of drilled material acquired from 2 m depth by ExoMars rover, supported by the comparison to local context, and the joint use of different instruments. Textural information might be less detailed relatively to what is usually obtained at outcrops during classical geological field work on the Earth, partly because of the lack of optical imaging of the borehole wall and also because the collected samples are crushed. However sub-mm scale layering and some other sedimentary features might be identified in the borehole wall observations, or in the collected sample prior to crushing, and also at nearby outcrops. The candidate landing sites provide different targets and focus for research: Oxia Planum requires analysis of phyllosilicates and OH content, at Mawrth Vallis the layering of various phyllosilicates and the role of shallow-subsurface leaching should be emphasized. At Aram Dorsum the particle size and fluvial sedimentary features will be interesting. Hydrated perchlorates and sulphates are ideal targets possibly at every landing sites because of OH retention, especially if they are mixed with smectites, thus could point to even ancient wet periods. Extensive use of information from the infrared wall scanning will be complemented for geological context by orbital and rover imaging of nearby outcrops. Information from the context is especially useful to infer the possible action of past H2O. Separation of the ice and liquid water effects will be supported by cation abundance and sedimentary context. Shape of grains also helps here, and composition of transported grains points to the weathering potential of the environment in general. The work on Mars during the drilling and sample analysis will provide brand new experience and knowledge for future missions.

  7. Characteristics of terrestrial basaltic rock populations: Implications for Mars lander and rover science and safety

    Science.gov (United States)

    Craddock, Robert A.; Golombek, Matthew P.

    2016-08-01

    We analyzed the morphometry of basaltic rock populations that have been emplaced or affected by a variety of geologic processes, including explosive volcanic eruptions (as a proxy for impact cratering), catastrophic flooding, frost shattering, salt weathering, alluvial deposition, and chemical weathering. Morphometric indices for these rock populations were compared to an unmodified population of rocks that had broken off a solidified lava flow to understand how different geologic processes change rock shape. We found that a majority of rocks have an sphericity described as either a disc or sphere in the Zingg classification system and posit that this is a function of cooling fractures in the basalt (Zingg [1935] Schweiz. Miner. Petrogr. Mitt., 15, 39-140). Angularity (roundness) is the most diagnostic morphometric index, but the Corey Shape Factor (CSF), Oblate-Prolate Index (OPI) and deviation from compactness (D) also sometimes distinguished weathering processes. Comparison of our results to prior analyses of rock populations found at the Mars Pathfinder, Spirit, and Curiosity landing sites support previous conclusions. The observation that the size-frequency distribution of terrestrial rock populations follow exponential functions similar to lander and orbital measurements of rocks on Mars, which is expected from fracture and fragmentation theory, indicates that these distributions are being dominantly controlled by the initial fracture and fragmentation of the basalt.

  8. Dust aerosol, clouds, and the atmospheric optical depth record over 5 Mars years of the Mars Exploration Rover mission

    CERN Document Server

    Lemmon, Mark T; Bell, James F; Smith, Michael D; Cantor, Bruce A; Smith, Peter H

    2014-01-01

    Dust aerosol plays a fundamental role in the behavior and evolution of the Martian atmosphere. The first five Mars years of Mars Exploration Rover data provide an unprecedented record of the dust load at two sites. This record is useful for characterization of the atmosphere at the sites and as ground truth for orbital observations. Atmospheric extinction optical depths have been derived from solar images after calibration and correction for time-varying dust that has accumulated on the camera windows. The record includes local, regional, and globally extensive dust storms. Comparison with contemporaneous thermal infrared data suggests significant variation in the size of the dust aerosols, with a 1 {\\mu}m effective radius during northern summer and a 2 {\\mu}m effective radius at the onset of a dust lifting event. The solar longitude (LS) 20-136{\\deg} period is also characterized by the presence of cirriform clouds at the Opportunity site, especially near LS=50 and 115{\\deg}. In addition to water ice clouds, ...

  9. Dust Aerosol, Clouds, and the Atmospheric Optical Depth Record over 5 Mars Years of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lemmon, Mark T.; Wolff, Michael J.; Bell, James F., III; Smith, Michael D.; Cantor, Bruce A.; Smith, Peter H.

    2014-01-01

    Dust aerosol plays a fundamental role in the behavior and evolution of the Martian atmosphere. The first five Mars years of Mars Exploration Rover data provide an unprecedented record of the dust load at two sites. This record is useful for characterization of the atmosphere at the sites and as ground truth for orbital observations. Atmospheric extinction optical depths have been derived from solar images after calibration and correction for time-varying dust that has accumulated on the camera windows. The record includes local, regional, and globally extensive dust storms. Comparison with contemporaneous thermal infrared data suggests significant variation in the size of the dust aerosols, with a 1 micrometer effective radius during northern summer and a 2 micrometer effective radius at the onset of a dust lifting event. The solar longitude (L (sub s)) 20-136 degrees period is also characterized by the presence of cirriform clouds at the Opportunity site, especially near LS = 50 and 115 degrees. In addition to water ice clouds, a water ice haze may also be present, and carbon dioxide clouds may be present early in the season. Variations in dust opacity are important to the energy balance of each site, and work with seasonal variations in insolation to control dust devil frequency at the Spirit site.

  10. The ChemCam Instrument Suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover: Science Objectives and Mast Unit Description

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maurice, S.; Wiens, R. C.; Saccoccio, M.; Barraclough, B.; Gasnault, O.; Forni, O.; Mangold, N.; Baratoux, D.; Bender, S.; Berger, G.; Bernardin, J.; Berthé, M.; Bridges, N.; Blaney, D.; Bouyé, M.; Caïs, P.; Clark, B.; Clegg, S.; Cousin, A.; Cremers, D.; Cros, A.; DeFlores, L.; Derycke, C.; Dingler, B.; Dromart, G.; Dubois, B.; Dupieux, M.; Durand, E.; d'Uston, L.; Fabre, C.; Faure, B.; Gaboriaud, A.; Gharsa, T.; Herkenhoff, K.; Kan, E.; Kirkland, L.; Kouach, D.; Lacour, J.-L.; Langevin, Y.; Lasue, J.; Le Mouélic, S.; Lescure, M.; Lewin, E.; Limonadi, D.; Manhès, G.; Mauchien, P.; McKay, C.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Michel, Y.; Miller, E.; Newsom, H. E.; Orttner, G.; Paillet, A.; Parès, L.; Parot, Y.; Pérez, R.; Pinet, P.; Poitrasson, F.; Quertier, B.; Sallé, B.; Sotin, C.; Sautter, V.; Séran, H.; Simmonds, J. J.; Sirven, J.-B.; Stiglich, R.; Striebig, N.; Thocaven, J.-J.; Toplis, M. J.; Vaniman, D.

    2012-09-01

    ChemCam is a remote sensing instrument suite on board the "Curiosity" rover (NASA) that uses Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to provide the elemental composition of soils and rocks at the surface of Mars from a distance of 1.3 to 7 m, and a telescopic imager to return high resolution context and micro-images at distances greater than 1.16 m. We describe five analytical capabilities: rock classification, quantitative composition, depth profiling, context imaging, and passive spectroscopy. They serve as a toolbox to address most of the science questions at Gale crater. ChemCam consists of a Mast-Unit (laser, telescope, camera, and electronics) and a Body-Unit (spectrometers, digital processing unit, and optical demultiplexer), which are connected by an optical fiber and an electrical interface. We then report on the development, integration, and testing of the Mast-Unit, and summarize some key characteristics of ChemCam. This confirmed that nominal or better than nominal performances were achieved for critical parameters, in particular power density (>1 GW/cm2). The analysis spot diameter varies from 350 μm at 2 m to 550 μm at 7 m distance. For remote imaging, the camera field of view is 20 mrad for 1024×1024 pixels. Field tests demonstrated that the resolution (˜90 μrad) made it possible to identify laser shots on a wide variety of images. This is sufficient for visualizing laser shot pits and textures of rocks and soils. An auto-exposure capability optimizes the dynamical range of the images. Dedicated hardware and software focus the telescope, with precision that is appropriate for the LIBS and imaging depths-of-field. The light emitted by the plasma is collected and sent to the Body-Unit via a 6 m optical fiber. The companion to this paper (Wiens et al. this issue) reports on the development of the Body-Unit, on the analysis of the emitted light, and on the good match between instrument performance and science specifications.

  11. The ChemCam Instrument Suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover: Science Objectives and Mast Unit Description

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maurice, S.; Wiens, R.C.; Saccoccio, M.; Barraclough, B.; Gasnault, O.; Forni, O.; Mangold, N.; Baratoux, D.; Bender, S.; Berger, G.; Bernardin, J.; Berthé, M.; Bridges, N.; Blaney, D.; Bouyé, M.; Caïs, P.; Clark, B.; Clegg, S.; Cousin, A.; Cremers, D.; Cros, A.; DeFlores, L.; Derycke, C.; Dingler, B.; Dromart, G.; Dubois, B.; Dupieux, M.; Durand, E.; d'Uston, L.; Fabre, C.; Faure, B.; Gaboriaud, A.; Gharsa, T.; Herkenhoff, K.; Kan, E.; Kirkland, L.; Kouach, D.; Lacour, J.-L.; Langevin, Y.; Lasue, J.; Le Mouélic, S.; Lescure, M.; Lewin, E.; Limonadi, D.; Manhès, G.; Mauchien, P.; McKay, C.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Michel, Y.; Miller, E.; Newsom, Horton E.; Orttner, G.; Paillet, A.; Parès, L.; Parot, Y.; Pérez, R.; Pinet, P.; Poitrasson, F.; Quertier, B.; Sallé, B.; Sotin, C.; Sautter, V.; Séran, H.; Simmonds, J.J.; Sirven, J.-B.; Stiglich, R.; Striebig, N.; Thocaven, J.-J.; Toplis, M.J.; Vaniman, D.

    2012-01-01

    ChemCam is a remote sensing instrument suite on board the "Curiosity" rover (NASA) that uses Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to provide the elemental composition of soils and rocks at the surface of Mars from a distance of 1.3 to 7 m, and a telescopic imager to return high resolution context and micro-images at distances greater than 1.16 m. We describe five analytical capabilities: rock classification, quantitative composition, depth profiling, context imaging, and passive spectroscopy. They serve as a toolbox to address most of the science questions at Gale crater. ChemCam consists of a Mast-Unit (laser, telescope, camera, and electronics) and a Body-Unit (spectrometers, digital processing unit, and optical demultiplexer), which are connected by an optical fiber and an electrical interface. We then report on the development, integration, and testing of the Mast-Unit, and summarize some key characteristics of ChemCam. This confirmed that nominal or better than nominal performances were achieved for critical parameters, in particular power density (>1 GW/cm2). The analysis spot diameter varies from 350 μm at 2 m to 550 μm at 7 m distance. For remote imaging, the camera field of view is 20 mrad for 1024×1024 pixels. Field tests demonstrated that the resolution (˜90 μrad) made it possible to identify laser shots on a wide variety of images. This is sufficient for visualizing laser shot pits and textures of rocks and soils. An auto-exposure capability optimizes the dynamical range of the images. Dedicated hardware and software focus the telescope, with precision that is appropriate for the LIBS and imaging depths-of-field. The light emitted by the plasma is collected and sent to the Body-Unit via a 6 m optical fiber. The companion to this paper (Wiens et al. this issue) reports on the development of the Body-Unit, on the analysis of the emitted light, and on the good match between instrument performance and science specifications.

  12. Studying the NE Eridania sedimentary sequence through the Mars 2020 rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pajola, M.; Carter, J.; Rossato, S.; Baratti, E.; Mangili, C.; Coradini, M.; McBride, K. S.

    2014-04-01

    The landing sites we are proposing for the next Mars 2020 rover span between 28°29'30"S-28°53'0"S Latitude and 178°56'30"W°178°28'0"W Longitude, i.e. on the NE floor of a 1.1×106 km2 closed drainage basin [1]. This area, see Fig. 1, belongs to the bigger (3×106 km2) Eridania basin that gave birth to the Ma'adim Vallis through catastrophic overflow, and presenting a water table between 950 and 1250 m [1,2,3]. The crater counting chronology for this area gives an age between Early to Middle Noachian [4]. By means of OMEGA [5] and CRISM [6] data, a large clay-bearing sedimentary unit has been identified over almost the entire margin of the Eridania basin [7]. On our specific site, i.e. the NE margin of the Eridania basin, sequences of aqueous minerals are observed. Such sedimentary minerals are accessible through erosional windows into the first several tens of meters of the sedimentary sequence. The top-down mineral sequence identified on the landing sites area presents an unaltered capping unit that is overlying an Al-rich clay stratum (see Fig. 2) akin to Al-smectite and/or kaolins with a 3.8 Ga) during which liquid water was durably stable at the surface. The most valuable candidates for ancient Martian microbial life sustainability and preservation are longlasting environments, characterized by the presence of ponding water [10,11,12]: hence, the proposed site presents a high exobiological potential that is just waiting to be unveiled. Besides that, when putting into context the future results on Eridania Basin, i.e. the Ma'adim Vallis source, together with those obtained from the Spirit rover inside Gusev Crater (see Fig. 1), i.e. the Ma'adim Vallis mouth, a wide understanding of this intriguing canyon and of the Mars megaflooding age is foreseen. Besides the above scientific analysis showing than the NE side of the Eridania region fulfills entirely the Mars 2020 scientific requirements [13], the location of the proposed landing sites widely meets all the

  13. Eridania Basin: An ancient paleolake floor as the next landing site for the Mars 2020 rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pajola, Maurizio; Rossato, Sandro; Carter, John; Baratti, Emanuele; Pozzobon, Riccardo; Erculiani, Marco Sergio; Coradini, Marcello; McBride, Karen

    2016-09-01

    The search for traces of past Martian life is directly connected to ancient paleolakes, where ponding water or low-energy water fluxes were present for long time intervals. The Eridania paleolakes system, located along the 180° meridian, is one of the largest lacustrine environments that were once present on Mars. Morphological features suggest that it was constituted by connected depressions filled by water to maximum depths of ∼2400 m and a volume of at least 562,000 km3. We focused our attention on the northern side of the Eridania Basin, where high-albedo, uneven patches of material characterized by the absence of dust are present. Based on OMEGA and CRISM orbital imaging spectroscopy data, a large clay-bearing unit has been identified there. In particular, a set of aqueous minerals in present in the stratigraphy, being visible through erosional windows in the first several tens of meters of the sedimentary sequence. Below this capping unit, a thin Al-rich clay stratum attributable to Al-smectite and/or kaolins is present. This overlies a Fe-rich clay stratum, attributable to the nontronite smectite. At the base of the mineralogic sequence a stratum that could be either a zeolite or more likely a hydrated sulfate is present. In addition, small deposits of alunite (a rare phase on Mars), and jarosite are here found at several locations. Such stratigraphy is interpreted as originating from a surface weathering process similar to terrestrial abiotic pedogenesis; nonetheless, possible exobiologic processes can be also invoked to explain it. NASA's Spirit rover landed on Gusev crater in 2004, near the mouth of the Ma'adim Vallis, which connects this crater with the considered paleolakes system. The Eridania site provides the unique opportunity to complete the measurements obtained in Gusev crater, while investigating the exposed mineralogical sequence in its depositionary setting. In addition, the extremely favorable landing parameters, such as elevation, slope

  14. Mars dust mineralogy and structure obtained by a simple Mars rover instrumentation development - suggestions for future missions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nørnberg, Per

    2016-04-01

    Selective spectroscopic observations of the dust on the surface of Mars have neither been possible from Earth nor from orbiters as ESA, Mars Express or NASA, MRO. Even in surface soil sampling detailed chemical or mineralogical information about Martian dust cannot be separated from the soil. Remote spectroscopic data contain a mixture of mineralogical components which do not provide any specific information on the dust. Information about chemical composition and mineralogy of the Martian airborne dust was derived from APXS and Mössbauer data from the MER rovers by Goetz et al. (2005). This paper concluded that magnetite and not maghemite is the magnetic phase of the dust, and also that the presence of olivine indicates that liquid water did not play a dominant role in the formation of atmospheric dust. The dust is most likely formed by mechanical comminution comparable to the fine fractions of dust in dune sand on Earth (Nørnberg, P. 2002). Our Mars dust model operates with particles (2-3 μm) that inside consists of primary minerals which are either oxidized down to tenths of nm below the surface or have captured electrically charged nanoparticles of hematite on the surface giving the dust its red colour. Experiments done by Merrison, J.P. et al. ( 2010) showed that mechanical tumbling (abrasion)of a mixture of 10g quartz and 1 g magnetite in a dry process in a Martian atmosphere transformed magnetite to hematite. This experiment supports the dry comminution process indicated by Goetz et al (2005). The XRD analyses on the NASA, MSL are done on a mixture of soil material in which the dust accounts for only a minor part. However, if dust could have been captured separately from the atmosphere e.g. by magnets on the MSL and taken off by e.g. tape or another mechanism that could be transferred into the target holder of the XRD diffractometer on the rover, it could by Rietveld analyses have provided valuable quantitative information on the mineral content of the

  15. Mars Rover Model Celebration: Developing Inquiry Based Lesson Plans to Teach Planetary Science In Elementary And Middle School

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A.; Slagle, E.; Nieser, K.; Carlson, C.; Kapral, A.; Dominey, W.; Ramsey, J.; Konstantinidis, I.; James, J.; Sweaney, S.; Mendez, R.

    2012-12-01

    The recent NASA Mars Rover missions capture the imagination of children, as NASA missions have done for decades. The University of Houston is in the process of developing a prototype of a flexible program that offers children an in-depth educational experience culminating in the design and construction of their own model rover. The existing prototype program is called the Mars Rover Model Celebration. It focuses on students, teachers and parents in grades 3-8. Students will design and build a model of a Mars rover to carry out a student selected science mission on the surface of Mars. The model will be a mock-up, constructed at a minimal cost from art supplies. The students will build the models as part of a project on Mars. The students will be given design criteria for a rover and will do basic research on Mars that will determine the objectives and features of their rover. This project may be used either informally as an after school club or youth group activity or formally as part of a class studying general science, earth science, solar system astronomy or robotics, or as a multi-disciplinary unit for a gifted and talented program. The project's unique strength lies in engaging students in the process of spacecraft design and interesting them in aerospace engineering careers. The project is aimed at elementary and secondary education. Not only will these students learn about scientific fields relevant to the mission (space science, physics, geology, robotics, and more), they will gain an appreciation for how this knowledge is used to tackle complex problems. The low cost of the event makes it an ideal enrichment vehicle for low income schools. It provides activities that provide professional development to educators, curricular support resources using NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) content, and provides family opportunities for involvement in K-12 student learning. This paper will describe the development of a detailed set of new 5E lesson plans to

  16. The WISDOM Radar: Unveiling the Subsurface Beneath the ExoMars Rover and Identifying the Best Locations for Drilling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ciarletti, Valérie; Clifford, Stephen; Plettemeier, Dirk; Le Gall, Alice; Hervé, Yann; Dorizon, Sophie; Quantin-Nataf, Cathy; Benedix, Wolf-Stefan; Schwenzer, Susanne; Pettinelli, Elena; Heggy, Essam; Herique, Alain; Berthelier, Jean-Jacques; Kofman, Wlodek; Vago, Jorge L.; Hamran, Svein-Erik; WISDOM Team

    2017-07-01

    The search for evidence of past or present life on Mars is the principal objective of the 2020 ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Rover mission. If such evidence is to be found anywhere, it will most likely be in the subsurface, where organic molecules are shielded from the destructive effects of ionizing radiation and atmospheric oxidants. For this reason, the ExoMars Rover mission has been optimized to investigate the subsurface to identify, understand, and sample those locations where conditions for the preservation of evidence of past life are most likely to be found. The Water Ice Subsurface Deposit Observation on Mars (WISDOM) ground-penetrating radar has been designed to provide information about the nature of the shallow subsurface over depth ranging from 3 to 10 m (with a vertical resolution of up to 3 cm), depending on the dielectric properties of the regolith. This depth range is critical to understanding the geologic evolution stratigraphy and distribution and state of subsurface H2O, which provide important clues in the search for life and the identification of optimal drilling sites for investigation and sampling by the Rover's 2-m drill. WISDOM will help ensure the safety and success of drilling operations by identification of potential hazards that might interfere with retrieval of subsurface samples.

  17. Geochemical diversity in first rocks examined by the Curiosity Rover in Gale Crater: Evidence for and significance of an alkali and volatile-rich igneous source

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, M. E.; Campbell, J. L.; Gellert, R.; Perrett, G. M.; Treiman, A. H.; Blaney, D. L.; Olilla, A.; Calef, F. J.; Edgar, L.; Elliott, B. E.; Grotzinger, J.; Hurowitz, J.; King, P. L.; Minitti, M. E.; Sautter, V.; Stack, K.; Berger, J. A.; Bridges, J. C.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Forni, O.; Leshin, L. A.; Lewis, K. W.; McLennan, S. M.; Ming, D. W.; Newsom, H.; Pradler, I.; Squyres, S. W.; Stolper, E. M.; Thompson, L.; VanBommel, S.; Wiens, R. C.

    2014-01-01

    first four rocks examined by the Mars Science Laboratory Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer indicate that Curiosity landed in a lithologically diverse region of Mars. These rocks, collectively dubbed the Bradbury assemblage, were studied along an eastward traverse (sols 46-102). Compositions range from Na- and Al-rich mugearite Jake_Matijevic to Fe-, Mg-, and Zn-rich alkali-rich basalt/hawaiite Bathurst_Inlet and span nearly the entire range in FeO* and MnO of the data sets from previous Martian missions and Martian meteorites. The Bradbury assemblage is also enriched in K and moderately volatile metals (Zn and Ge). These elements do not correlate with Cl or S, suggesting that they are associated with the rocks themselves and not with salt-rich coatings. Three out of the four Bradbury rocks plot along a line in elemental variation diagrams, suggesting mixing between Al-rich and Fe-rich components. ChemCam analyses give insight to their degree of chemical heterogeneity and grain size. Variations in trace elements detected by ChemCam suggest chemical weathering (Li) and concentration in mineral phases (e.g., Rb and Sr in feldspars). We interpret the Bradbury assemblage to be broadly volcanic and/or volcaniclastic, derived either from near the Gale crater rim and transported by the Peace Vallis fan network, or from a local volcanic source within Gale Crater. High Fe and Fe/Mn in Et_Then likely reflect secondary precipitation of Fe3+ oxides as a cement or rind. The K-rich signature of the Bradbury assemblage, if igneous in origin, may have formed by small degrees of partial melting of metasomatized mantle.

  18. 探测器发现火星曾经环境湿润适合生存%Rover Finds Mars Was Wet Enogh for Life

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    钱妮娜

    2004-01-01

    @@ Mars may once have been a wet place where life could flourish, according to NASA scientists who say a robot rover has found evidence that rocks on the Red Planet "were once soaked with liquid water."

  19. The Close-Up Imager Onboard the ESA ExoMars Rover: Objectives, Description, Operations, and Science Validation Activities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Josset, Jean-Luc; Westall, Frances; Hofmann, Beda A.; Spray, John; Cockell, Charles; Kempe, Stephan; Griffiths, Andrew D.; De Sanctis, Maria Cristina; Colangeli, Luigi; Koschny, Detlef; Föllmi, Karl; Verrecchia, Eric; Diamond, Larryn; Josset, Marie; Javaux, Emmanuelle J.; Esposito, Francesca; Gunn, Matthew; Souchon-Leitner, Audrey L.; Bontognali, Tomaso R. R.; Korablev, Oleg; Erkman, Suren; Paar, Gerhard; Ulamec, Stephan; Foucher, Frédéric; Martin, Philippe; Verhaeghe, Antoine; Tanevski, Mitko; Vago, Jorge L.

    2017-07-01

    The Close-Up Imager (CLUPI) onboard the ESA ExoMars Rover is a powerful high-resolution color camera specifically designed for close-up observations. Its accommodation on the movable drill allows multiple positioning. The science objectives of the instrument are geological characterization of rocks in terms of texture, structure, and color and the search for potential morphological biosignatures. We present the CLUPI science objectives, performance, and technical description, followed by a description of the instrument's planned operations strategy during the mission on Mars. CLUPI will contribute to the rover mission by surveying the geological environment, acquiring close-up images of outcrops, observing the drilling area, inspecting the top portion of the drill borehole (and deposited fines), monitoring drilling operations, and imaging samples collected by the drill. A status of the current development and planned science validation activities is also given.

  20. The SuperCam Remote-Sensing Instrument Suite for the Mars 2020 Rover Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiens, R. C.; Maurice, S.; Clegg, S. M.; Rull, F.; Sharma, S. K.; Anderson, R. B.; Beyssac, O.; Bonal, L.; DeFlores, L. P.; Dromart, G.; Fischer, W. W.; Forni, O.; Gasnault, O.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Johnson, J. R.; Martinez-Frias, J.; Mangold, N.; McLennan, S. M.; Montmessin, F.

    2015-12-01

    The SuperCam remote-sensing instrument suite in development for the Mars 2020 rover represents a significant advance from its precursor, ChemCam, by adding Raman spectroscopy (to 12 m distance) and visible and near-infrared (VISIR) reflectance spectroscopy. For Raman spectroscopy the LIBS Nd:YAG laser is frequency-doubled to 532 nm (green Raman). A transmission spectrometer with an intensified CCD covers 150-4400 cm-1 spectral range at a resolution of 10 cm-1. The system is adjustably time-gated, removing much of the mineral fluorescence from the Raman spectra and also facilitating time-resolved fluorescence studies. The infrared range covers 1.3-2.6 microns in addition to the existing 400-840 nm range on ChemCam. Additional upgrades include doubling the LIBS resolution in the 535-860 nm range and adding color to the Remote Micro-Imager (RMI), which is the highest resolution remote imager on the rover. A large-scale effort is being applied to the on-board standards, being led by U. Valladolid in Spain, with targets contributed by many institutions. The number of geological targets will be increased from 8 (on ChemCam) to 22, planned to include end-member plagioclase feldspars, hi- and low-Ca pyroxene, olivines, several fine-grained basalts, hematite, jarosite, carbonates, apatite, and several synthetic targets doped with trace elements. Three Spectralon targets are planned for IR calibration and several color bands for the RMI. All but the Spectralon and color bands should be available for LIBS calibration, and many are also being designed for Raman and VISIR calibration. For LIBS this collection of standards will significantly improve the accuracy relative to ChemCam; other precision improvements are anticipated to come from correcting for variable plasma temperature. The presentation will illustrate how Mars datasets will be significantly improved via this multi-technique approach and will give a first look at prototype SuperCam spectra.

  1. Using Advanced Computing in Applied Dynamics: From the Dynamics of Granular Material to the Motion of the Mars Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-08-26

    USING ADVANCED COMPUTING IN APPLIED DYNAMICS: FROM THE DYNAMICS OF GRANULAR MATERIAL TO THE MOTION OF THE MARS ROVER Dan Negrut NVIDIA CUDA ...for public release. #24389 12 Lab’s Research Heterogeneous Cluster • More than 50,000 GPU scalar processors • More than 1,200 CPU cores • Fast...emerging hardware” : • GPUs and clusters of CPUs • “open engineering problems” : • Fluid-solid interaction, vehicle mobility, soil modeling

  2. Overview of the magnetic properties experiments on the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madsen, M.B.; Goetz, W.; Bertelsen, P.; Binau, C.S.; Folkmann, F.; Gunnlaugsson, H.P.; Hjollum, J.I.; Hviid, S.F.; Jensen, J.; Kinch, K.M.; Leer, K.; Madsen, D.E.; Merrison, J.; Olsen, M.; Arneson, H.M.; Bell, J.F.; Gellert, Ralf; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Johnson, M.J.; Klingelhofer, G.; McCartney, E.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R.V.; Proton, J.B.; Rodionov, D.; Sims, M.; Squyres, S. W.; Wdowiak, T.; Yen, A. S.

    2009-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers have accumulated airborne dust on different types of permanent magnets. Images of these magnets document the dynamics of dust capture and removal over time. The strongly magnetic subset of airborne dust appears dark brown to black in Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images, while the weakly magnetic one is bright red. Images returned by the Microscopic Imager reveal the formation of magnetic chains diagnostic of magnetite-rich grains with substantial magnetization (>8 Am2 kg-1). On the basis of M??ssbauer spectra the dust contains magnetite, olivine, pyroxene, and nanophase oxides in varying proportions, depending on wind regime and landing site. The dust contains a larger amount of ferric iron (Fe3+/Fe tot ??? 0.6) than rocks in the Gusev plains (???0.1-0.2) or average Gusev soil (???0.3). Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer data of the dust show that some of the iron in magnetite is substituted by titanium and chromium. The good correlation of the amount of calcium and sulfur in the dust may be caused by the presence of a calcium sulfate related phase. The overall mineralogical composition points to a basaltic origin of the airborne dust, although some alteration has taken place as indicated by the large degree of oxidation. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

  3. Identifying and Interpreting Stratification in Sedimentary Rocks on Mars: Insight from Rover and Orbital Observations and Terrestrial Field Analogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgar, Lauren A.

    Sedimentary rocks on Mars provide insight into past aqueous and atmospheric processes, climate regimes, and potential habitability. The stratigraphic architecture of sedimentary rocks on Mars is similar to that of Earth, indicating that the processes that govern deposition and erosion on Mars can be reasonably inferred through reference to analogous terrestrial systems. This dissertation aims to understand Martian surface processes through the use of (1) ground-based observations from the Mars Exploration Rovers, (2) orbital data from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and (3) the use of terrestrial field analogs to understand bedforms and sediment transport on Mars. Chapters 1 and 2 trace the history of aqueous activity at Meridiani Planum, through the reconstruction of eolian bedforms at Victoria crater, and the identification of a potential mudstone facies at Santa Maria crater. Chapter 3 uses Terrestrial Laser Scanning to study cross-bedding in pyroclastic surge deposits on Earth in order to understand sediment transport in these events and to establish criteria for their identification on Mars. The final chapter analyzes stratal geometries in the Martian North Polar Layered Deposits using tools for sequence stratigraphic analysis, to better constrain past surface processes and past climate conditions on Mars.

  4. Integrating the Teaching of Space Science, Planetary Exploration And Robotics In Elementary And Middle School with Mars Rover Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A.; Ramsey, J.; Smith, H.; Boyko, B. S.; Peck, S.; Arcenaux, W. H.

    2005-05-01

    The present aerospace engineering and science workforce is ageing. It is not clear that the US education system will produce enough qualified replacements to meet the need in the near future. Unfortunately, by the time many students get to high school, it is often too late to get them pointed toward an engineering or science career. Since some college programs require 6 units of high school mathematics for admission, students need to begin consciously preparing for a science or engineering curriculum as early as 6th or 7th grade. The challenge for educators is to convince elementary school students that science and engineering are both exciting, relevant and accessible career paths. This paper describes a program designed to help provide some excitement and relevance. It is based on the task of developing a mobile robot or "Rover" to explore the surface of Mars. There are two components to the program, a curriculum unit and a contest. The curriculum unit is structured as a 6-week planetary science unit for elementary school (grades 3-5). It can also be used as a curriculum unit, enrichment program or extracurricular activity in grades 6-8 by increasing the expected level of scientific sophistication in the mission design. The second component is a citywide competition to select the most outstanding models that is held annually at a local college or University. Primary (Grades 3-5) and middle school (Grades 6-8) students interested in science and engineering will design and build of a model of a Mars Rover to carry out a specific science mission on the surface of Mars. The students will build the models as part of a 6-week Fall semester classroom-learning or homework project on Mars. The students will be given design criteria for a rover, and be required to do basic research on Mars that will determine the operational objectives and structural features of their rover. This module may be used as part of a class studying general science, earth science, solar system

  5. Mars Rover proposed for 2018 to seek signs of life and to cache samples for potential return to Earth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratt, Lisa; Beaty, David; Westall, Frances; Parnell, John; Poulet, François

    2010-05-01

    Mars Rover proposed for 2018 to seek signs of life and to cache samples for potential return to Earth Lisa Pratt, David Beatty, Frances Westall, John Parnell, François Poulet, and the MRR-SAG team The search for preserved evidence of life is the keystone concept for a new generation of Mars rover capable of exploring, sampling, and caching diverse suites of rocks from outcrops. The proposed mission is conceived to address two general objectives: conduct high-priority in situ science and make concrete steps towards the possible future return of samples to Earth. We propose the name Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher (MAX-C) to best reflect the dual purpose of the proposed mission. The scientific objective of the proposed MAX-C would require rover access to a site with high preservation potential for physical and chemical biosignatures in order to evaluate paleo-environmental conditions, characterize the potential for preservation of biosignatures, and access multiple sequences of geological units in a search for evidence of past life and/or prebiotic chemistry. Samples addressing a variety of high-priority scientific objectives should be collected, documented, and packaged in a manner suitable for possible return to Earth by a future mission. Relevant experience from study of ancient terrestrial strata, martian meteorites, and from the Mars exploration Rovers indicates that the proposed MAX-C's interpretive capability should include: meter to submillimeter texture (optical imaging), mineral identification, major element content, and organic molecular composition. Analytical data should be obtained by direct investigation of outcrops and should not entail acquisition of rock chips or powders. We propose, therefore, a set of arm-mounted instruments that would be capable of interrogating a relatively smooth, abraded surface by creating co-registered 2-D maps of visual texture, mineralogy and geochemical properties. This approach is judged to have particularly high

  6. Mineralogy by X-ray Diffraction on Mars: The Chemin Instrument on Mars Science Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaniman, D. T.; Bristow, T. F.; Bish, D. L.; Ming, D. W.; Blake, D. F.; Morris, R. V.; Rampe, E. B.; Chipera, S. J.; Treiman, A. H.; Morrison, S. M.; Achilles, C. N.; Downs, R. T.; Farmer, J. D.; Crisp, J. A.; Morookian, J. M.; Des Marais, D. J.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Sarrazin, P.; Yen, A. S.

    2014-01-01

    To obtain detailed mineralogy information, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity carries CheMin, the first X-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument used on a planet other than Earth. CheMin has provided the first in situ XRD analyses of full phase assemblages on another planet.

  7. The WISDOM Radar onboard the Rover of the ExoMars mission (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ciarletti, V.; Corbel, C.; Plettemeier, D.; Clifford, S. M.; Cais, P.; Hamran, S.

    2009-12-01

    The most fundamental and basic aspect of the geologic characterization of any environment is understanding its stratigraphy and structure - which provides invaluable insights into its origin, the processes and events by which it evolved, and (through the examination of superpositional and cross-cutting relationships) their relative timing. The WISDOM GPR onboard the Rover of the ESA ExoMars mission (2016) has the ability to investigate and characterize the nature of the subsurface remotely, providing high-resolution (several cm-scale) data on subsurface stratigraphy, structure, and the magnitude and scale of spatial heterogeneity, to depths in excess of 3 m. Unlike traditional imaging systems or spectrometers, which are limited to characterization of the visible surface, WISDOM can access what lies beneath - providing an understanding of the 3-dimensional geologic context of the landing site along the Rover path. WISDOM will address a variety of high-priority scientific objectives: (1) Understand the geology and geologic evolution of the landing site, including local lithology, stratigraphy and structure. (2) Characterize the 3-D electromagnetic properties of the Landing Site - including the scale and magnitude of spatial heterogeneity - for comparison with those measured at larger scales by MARSIS, SHARAD and any future orbital radars. (3) Understand the local distribution and state of shallow subsurface H2O and other volatiles, including the potential presence of segregated ground ice (as ice lenses and wedges), the persistent or transient occurrence of liquid water/brine, and deposits of methane hydrate and (4) identify the most promising locations for drilling that combine targets of high scientific interest. In addition to these objectives, there are also clear scientific and operational benefits when WISDOM is operated in concert with the rover’s drill and its associated analytical instruments, which will determine the compositional and physical properties

  8. Preliminary Assessment of the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing Simulation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Way, David W.

    2013-01-01

    On August 5, 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, successfully landed inside Gale Crater. This landing was only the seventh successful landing and fourth rover to be delivered to Mars. Weighing nearly one metric ton, Curiosity is the largest and most complex rover ever sent to investigate another planet. Safely landing such a large payload required an innovative Entry, Descent, and Landing system, which included the first guided entry at Mars, the largest supersonic parachute ever flown at Mars, and a novel and untested Sky Crane landing system. A complete, end-to-end, six degree-of-freedom, multibody computer simulation of the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing sequence was developed at the NASA Langley Research Center. In-flight data gathered during the successful landing is compared to pre-flight statistical distributions, predicted by the simulation. These comparisons provide insight into both the accuracy of the simulation and the overall performance of the vehicle.

  9. Assessment of the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing Simulation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Way, David W.; Davis, J. L.; Shidner, Jeremy D.

    2013-01-01

    On August 5, 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, successfully landed inside Gale Crater. This landing was only the seventh successful landing and fourth rover to be delivered to Mars. Weighing nearly one metric ton, Curiosity is the largest and most complex rover ever sent to investigate another planet. Safely landing such a large payload required an innovative Entry, Descent, and Landing system, which included the first guided entry at Mars, the largest supersonic parachute ever flown at Mars, and a novel and untested Sky Crane landing system. A complete, end-to-end, six degree-of-freedom, multi-body computer simulation of the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing sequence was developed at the NASA Langley Research Center. In-flight data gathered during the successful landing is compared to pre-flight statistical distributions, predicted by the simulation. These comparisons provide insight into both the accuracy of the simulation and the overall performance of the vehicle.

  10. The origin and evolution of the Peace Vallis fan system that drains to the Curiosity landing area, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palucis, Marisa C.; Dietrich, William E.; Hayes, Alexander G.; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Mangold, Nicholas; Newsom, Horton; Hardgrove, Craig; Calef, Fred; Sumner, Dawn Y.

    2014-04-01

    The landing site for the Curiosity rover is located at the distal end of the Peace Vallis fan in Gale Crater. Peace Vallis fan covers 80 km2 and is fed by a 730 km2 catchment, which drains an upland plains area through a 15 km wide gap in the crater rim. Valley incision into accumulated debris delivered sediment through a relatively low density valley network to a main stem channel to the fan. An estimated total fan volume of 0.9 km3 matches the calculated volume of removal due to valley incision (0.8 km3) and indicates a mean thickness of 9 m. The fan profile is weakly concave up with a mean slope of 1.5% for the lower portion. Numerous inverted channels outcrop on the western surface of the fan, but on the eastern portion such channels are rare suggesting a change in process from distributary channel domination on the west to sheet flow on the eastern portion of the fan. Runoff (discharge/watershed area) to produce the fan is estimated to be more than 600 m, perhaps as much as 6000 m, indicating a hydrologic cycle that likely lasted at least thousands of years. Atmospheric precipitation (possibly snow) not seepage produced the runoff. Based on topographic data, Peace Vallis fan likely onlapped Bradbury Rise and spilled into a topographic low to the east of the rise. This argues that the light-toned fractured terrain within this topographic low corresponds to the distal deposits of Peace Vallis fan, and in such a setting, lacustrine deposits are expected.

  11. Curiosity Overview of a Two-Year Odyssey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Michael A.; Vasavada, Ashwin R.

    2014-11-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, has been exploring the floor of Gale Crater for well over a Mars year and has now entered its extended mission. Major milestones have been met and exceeded, especially having addressed its prime scientific objective through exploring Yellowknife Bay, an ancient fluvial environment in Gale Crater, and determining that it could have supported microbial life. The mission has accomplished many first-time planetary activities, such as measurements new to planetary science (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, X-ray Diffraction), measurements of the high-energy radiation flux at the surface, radiogenic and cosmogenic isotope age dating of rocks, and detection of martian organic carbon. In addition, many measurements have provided a significant refinement to those of previous missions such as atmospheric isotopic measurements relevant to atmospheric loss, methane content of the atmosphere, and the daily and seasonal change in atmospheric temperature and pressure. Curiosity has left its landing ellipse and is progressing toward the base of Mt. Sharp. The rover has had the opportunity to make additional measurements of fluvial sediments, including extensive remote and contact measurements, and analysis of a drilled samples. A summary of two Earth years of major findings of Curiosity, their implications, and more recent results (potentially including comet Siding Spring) will be presented at the meeting.

  12. Pre-flight calibration and initial data processing for the ChemCam laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiens, R.C.; Maurice, S.; Lasue, J.; Forni, O.; Anderson, R.B.; Clegg, S.; Bender, S.; Blaney, D.; Barraclough, B.L.; Cousin, A.; DeFlores, L.; Delapp, D.; Dyar, M.D.; Fabre, C.; Gasnault, O.; Lanza, N.; Mazoyer, J.; Melikechi, N.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Newsom, H.; Ollila, A.; Perez, R.; Tokar, R.; Vaniman, D.

    2013-01-01

    The ChemCam instrument package on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, is the first planetary science instrument to employ laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to determine the compositions of geological samples on another planet. Pre-processing of the spectra involves subtracting the ambient light background, removing noise, removing the electron continuum, calibrating for the wavelength, correcting for the variable distance to the target, and applying a wavelength-dependent correction for the instrument response. Further processing of the data uses multivariate and univariate comparisons with a LIBS spectral library developed prior to launch as well as comparisons with several on-board standards post-landing. The level-2 data products include semi-quantitative abundances derived from partial least squares regression. A LIBS spectral library was developed using 69 rock standards in the form of pressed powder disks, glasses, and ceramics to minimize heterogeneity on the scale of the observation (350–550 μm dia.). The standards covered typical compositional ranges of igneous materials and also included sulfates, carbonates, and phyllosilicates. The provenance and elemental and mineralogical compositions of these standards are described. Spectral characteristics of this data set are presented, including the size distribution and integrated irradiances of the plasmas, and a proxy for plasma temperature as a function of distance from the instrument. Two laboratory-based clones of ChemCam reside in Los Alamos and Toulouse for the purpose of adding new spectra to the database as the need arises. Sensitivity to differences in wavelength correlation to spectral channels and spectral resolution has been investigated, indicating that spectral registration needs to be within half a pixel and resolution needs to match within 1.5 to 2.6 pixels. Absolute errors are tabulated for derived compositions of each major element in each standard using PLS regression

  13. Modeling of low-temperature plasmas generated using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy: the ChemCam diagnostic tool on the Mars Science Laboratory Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colgan, James

    2016-05-01

    We report on efforts to model the low-temperature plasmas generated using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). LIBS is a minimally invasive technique that can quickly and efficiently determine the elemental composition of a target and is employed in an extremely wide range of applications due to its ease of use and fast turnaround. In particular, LIBS is the diagnostic tool used by the ChemCam instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity. In this talk, we report on the use of the Los Alamos plasma modeling code ATOMIC to simulate LIBS plasmas, which are typically at temperatures of order 1 eV and electron densities of order 10 16 - 17 cm-3. At such conditions, these plasmas are usually in local-thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) and normally contain neutral and singly ionized species only, which then requires that modeling must use accurate atomic structure data for the element under investigation. Since LIBS devices are often employed in a very wide range of applications, it is therefore desirable to have accurate data for most of the elements in the periodic table, ideally including actinides. Here, we discuss some recent applications of our modeling using ATOMIC that have explored the plasma physics aspects of LIBS generated plasmas, and in particular discuss the modeling of a plasma formed from a basalt sample used as a ChemCam standard1. We also highlight some of the more general atomic physics challenges that are encountered when attempting to model low-temperature plasmas. The Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the National Nuclear Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC5206NA25396. Work performed in conjunction with D. P. Kilcrease, H. M. Johns, E. J. Judge, J. E. Barefield, R. C. Wiens, S. M. Clegg.

  14. Isotopes of nitrogen on Mars: Atmospheric measurements by Curiosity's mass spectrometer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wong, Michael H; Atreya, Sushil K; Mahaffy, Paul N; Franz, Heather B; Malespin, Charles; Trainer, Melissa G; Stern, Jennifer C; Conrad, Pamela G; Manning, Heidi L K; Pepin, Robert O; Becker, Richard H; McKay, Christopher P; Owen, Tobias C; Navarro-González, Rafael; Jones, John H; Jakosky, Bruce M; Steele, Andrew

    2013-01-01

    [1] The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) measured a Mars atmospheric14N/15N ratio of 173 ± 11 on sol 341 of the mission, agreeing with Viking's measurement of 168 ± 17. The MSL/SAM value was based on Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer measurements of an enriched atmospheric sample, with CO2 and H2O removed. Doubly ionized nitrogen data at m/z 14 and 14.5 had the highest signal/background ratio, with results confirmed by m/z 28 and 29 data. Gases in SNC meteorite glasses have been interpreted as mixtures containing a Martian atmospheric component, based partly on distinctive14N/15N and40Ar/14N ratios. Recent MSL/SAM measurements of the40Ar/14N ratio (0.51 ± 0.01) are incompatible with the Viking ratio (0.35 ± 0.08). The meteorite mixing line is more consistent with the atmospheric composition measured by Viking than by MSL. PMID:26074632

  15. Volatile and Isotopic Imprints of Ancient Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul R.; Conrad, Pamela G.

    2015-01-01

    The science investigations enabled by Curiosity rover's instruments focus on identifying and exploring the habitability of the Martian environment. Measurements of noble gases, organic and inorganic compounds, and the isotopes of light elements permit the study of the physical and chemical processes that have transformed Mars throughout its history. Samples of the atmosphere, volatiles released from soils, and rocks from the floor of Gale Crater have provided a wealth of new data and a window into conditions on ancient Mars.

  16. An Instrument for In-situ Triage of Mars 2020 Rover Samples for Organics and Chronology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, F.; Whitaker, T.; Andrews, J.

    2013-12-01

    We have developed a prototype instrument for triaging samples for elemental chemistry, organics, and Rb-Sr dates on the Mars 2020 Rover. Determining organic content and rock age are key drivers for Mars Sample Return (MSR). By identifying samples with organics, and potentially a range of dates, we increase near-term science return, while maximizing scientific and political will to compel the ultimate return of samples. Though organics have proven difficult to identify in-situ, understanding their distribution and variety could provide key constraints on the possibility of life; on the other hand, datable outcrops are clearly present at a range of potential landing sites, and could provide insight into the evolution of both local and global geology, and the history of solar system bombardment. Our instrument uses laser desorption resonance ionization mass spectrometry (LDRIMS) for Rb-Sr dates, and a subset of the LDRIMS lasers for L2MS measurements of organics. With LDRIMS, a sample is placed in a time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer and surface atoms, molecules, and ions are desorbed with a 213 nm laser. The plume of expanding atoms is present for many μs, during which it is first illuminated with laser light tuned to ionize only Sr, and then 1-3 μs later, Rb . This eliminates isobars for Rb and Sr, and insures that the measured atoms come from the same ablation event, and hence target materials. L2MS uses high-power IR laser ablation to desorb neutral organic molecules, followed by a second, UV laser beam for ionization. Advantages of L2MS include the measurement of a wide array of elements, and it is one of the most sensitive available organic detection methods, with demonstrated detection to 10-18. We have previously demonstrated dates on granites with an average of 1.727×0.087 Ga (MSWD=1; ×0.062 for MSWD=2); both values have a precision and accuracy exceeding that called for by NASA. Finally, we have demonstrated ppm-level detections of organics in the

  17. Mineralogy of a mudstone at Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vaniman, D.T.; Bish, D.L.; Ming, D.W.; Bristow, T.F.; Morris, R.V.; Blake, D.F.; Chipera, S.J.; Morrison, S.M.; Treiman, A.H.; Rampe, E.B.; Rice, M.; Achilles, C.N.; Grotzinger, J.P.; McLennan, S.M.; Williams, J.; Bell III, J.F.; Newsom, H.E.; Downs, R.T.; Maurice, S.; Sarrazin, P.; Yen, A.S.; Morookian, J.M.; Farmer, J.D.; Stack, K.; Milliken, R.E.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Sumner, D.Y.; Berger, G.; Crisp, J.A.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Anderson, R.; Des Marais, D.J.; Stolper, E.M.; Edgett, K.S.; Gupta, S.; Spanovich, N.; MSL Science Team, the

    2014-01-01

    Sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay (Gale crater) on Mars include mudstone sampled by the Curiosity rover. The samples, John Klein and Cumberland, contain detrital basaltic minerals, calcium sulfates, iron oxide or hydroxides, iron sulfides, amorphous material, and trioctahedral smectites. The John

  18. Correlating multispectral imaging and compositional data from the Mars Exploration Rovers and implications for Mars Science Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Ryan B.; Bell, James F.

    2013-01-01

    In an effort to infer compositional information about distant targets based on multispectral imaging data, we investigated methods of relating Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Pancam multispectral remote sensing observations to in situ alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS)-derived elemental abundances and Mössbauer (MB)-derived abundances of Fe-bearing phases at the MER field sites in Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum. The majority of the partial correlation coefficients between these data sets were not statistically significant. Restricting the targets to those that were abraded by the rock abrasion tool (RAT) led to improved Pearson’s correlations, most notably between the red–blue ratio (673 nm/434 nm) and Fe3+-bearing phases, but partial correlations were not statistically significant. Partial Least Squares (PLS) calculations relating Pancam 11-color visible to near-IR (VNIR; ∼400–1000 nm) “spectra” to APXS and Mössbauer element or mineral abundances showed generally poor performance, although the presence of compositional outliers led to improved PLS results for data from Meridiani. When the Meridiani PLS model for pyroxene was tested by predicting the pyroxene content of Gusev targets, the results were poor, indicating that the PLS models for Meridiani are not applicable to data from other sites. Soft Independent Modeling of Class Analogy (SIMCA) classification of Gusev crater data showed mixed results. Of the 24 Gusev test regions of interest (ROIs) with known classes, 11 had >30% of the pixels in the ROI classified correctly, while others were mis-classified or unclassified. k-Means clustering of APXS and Mössbauer data was used to assign Meridiani targets to compositional classes. The clustering-derived classes corresponded to meaningful geologic and/or color unit differences, and SIMCA classification using these classes was somewhat successful, with >30% of pixels correctly classified in 9 of the 11 ROIs with known classes. This work shows

  19. Mars Rover Curriculum: Teacher Self Reporting of Increased Frequency and Confidence in their Science and Language Arts Instruction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A.; Carlson, C.; Nieser, K.; Slagle, E.

    2013-12-01

    The University of Houston is in the process of developing a flexible program that offers children an in-depth educational experience culminating in the design and construction of their own model Mars rover. The program is called the Mars Rover Model Celebration (MRC). It focuses on students, teachers and parents in grades 3-8. Students design and build a model of a Mars rover to carry out a student selected science mission on the surface of Mars. A total of 65 Mars Rover teachers from the 2012-2013 cohort were invited to complete the Mars Rover Teacher Evaluation Survey. The survey was administered online and could be taken at the convenience of the participant. In total, 29 teachers participated in the survey. Teachers were asked to rate their current level of confidence in their ability to teach specific topics within the Earth and Life Science realms, as well as their confidence in their ability to implement teaching strategies with their students. In addition, they were asked to rate the degree to which they felt their confidence increased in the past year as a result of their participation in the MRC program. The majority of teachers (81-90%) felt somewhat to very confident in their ability to effectively teach concepts related to earth and life sciences to their students. In addition, many of the teachers felt that their confidence in teaching these concepts increased somewhat to quite a bit as a result of their participation in the MRC program (54-88%). The most striking increase in this area was the reported 48% of teachers who felt their confidence in teaching 'Earth and the solar system and universe' increased 'Quite a bit' as a result of their participation in the MRC program. The vast majority of teachers (86-100%) felt somewhat to very confident in their ability to effectively implement all of the listed teaching strategies. In addition, the vast majority reported believing that their confidence increased somewhat to quite a bit as a result of their

  20. A Motor Drive Electronics Assembly for Mars Curiosity Rover: An Example of Assembly Qualification for Extreme Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kolawa, Elizabeth; Chen, Yuan; Mojarradi, Mohammad M.; Tudryn Weber, Carissa

    2013-01-01

    In this paper, the technology development and infusion of the motor drive electronics assembly, along with the technology qualification and space qualification, is described and detailed. The process is an example of the qualification methodology for extreme environmen

  1. Pre-flight calibration and initial data processing for the ChemCam laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory rover

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wiens, R.C., E-mail: rwiens@lanl.gov [Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544 (United States); Maurice, S.; Lasue, J.; Forni, O. [Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie, Toulouse (France); Anderson, R.B. [United States Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ (United States); Clegg, S. [Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544 (United States); Bender, S. [Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ (United States); Blaney, D. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA (United States); Barraclough, B.L. [Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ (United States); Cousin, A. [Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544 (United States); Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie, Toulouse (France); Deflores, L. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA (United States); Delapp, D. [Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544 (United States); Dyar, M.D. [Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA (United States); Fabre, C. [Georessources, Nancy (France); Gasnault, O. [Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie, Toulouse (France); Lanza, N. [Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544 (United States); Mazoyer, J. [LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, Meudon (France); Melikechi, N. [Delaware State University, Dover, DE (United States); Meslin, P.-Y. [Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie, Toulouse (France); Newsom, H. [University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States); and others

    2013-04-01

    The ChemCam instrument package on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, is the first planetary science instrument to employ laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to determine the compositions of geological samples on another planet. Pre-processing of the spectra involves subtracting the ambient light background, removing noise, removing the electron continuum, calibrating for the wavelength, correcting for the variable distance to the target, and applying a wavelength-dependent correction for the instrument response. Further processing of the data uses multivariate and univariate comparisons with a LIBS spectral library developed prior to launch as well as comparisons with several on-board standards post-landing. The level-2 data products include semi-quantitative abundances derived from partial least squares regression. A LIBS spectral library was developed using 69 rock standards in the form of pressed powder disks, glasses, and ceramics to minimize heterogeneity on the scale of the observation (350–550 μm dia.). The standards covered typical compositional ranges of igneous materials and also included sulfates, carbonates, and phyllosilicates. The provenance and elemental and mineralogical compositions of these standards are described. Spectral characteristics of this data set are presented, including the size distribution and integrated irradiances of the plasmas, and a proxy for plasma temperature as a function of distance from the instrument. Two laboratory-based clones of ChemCam reside in Los Alamos and Toulouse for the purpose of adding new spectra to the database as the need arises. Sensitivity to differences in wavelength correlation to spectral channels and spectral resolution has been investigated, indicating that spectral registration needs to be within half a pixel and resolution needs to match within 1.5 to 2.6 pixels. Absolute errors are tabulated for derived compositions of each major element in each standard using PLS regression

  2. Design and Testing of a Linear Ion Trap for the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) Investigation on the 2018 ExoMars Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brinckerhoff, W. B.; van Amerom, F.; Danell, R.; Pinnick, V. T.; Arevalo, R. D.; Li, X.; Hovmand, L.; Siljestrom, S.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Goetz, W.; Goesmann, F.; Steininger, H.

    2013-12-01

    The 2018 ExoMars rover mission includes the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) investigation. MOMA will examine the chemical composition of samples acquired from depths of up to two meters below the martian surface, where organics may be protected from radiative and oxidative degradation. When combined with the complement of instruments in the rover's Pasteur Payload, MOMA has the potential to reveal the presence of a wide range of organics preserved in a variety of mineralogical environments, and to begin to understand the structural character and potential origin of those compounds. MOMA includes an ion trap mass spectrometer (ITMS) that is designed to analyze molecular composition of (i) gas evolved from pyrolyzed powder samples and separated on a gas chromatograph and (ii) ions directly desorbed from solid samples at Mars ambient pressure using a pulsed laser and a fast-valve capillary ion inlet system. This 'dual source' approach gives MOMA unprecedented breadth of detection over a wide range of molecular weights and volatilities. Analysis of nonvolatile, higher-molecular weight organics such as carboxylic acids and peptides even in the presence of significant perchlorate concentrations is enabled by the extremely short (~1 ns) pulses of the desorption laser. Use of the ion trap's tandem mass spectrometry mode permits selective focus on key species for isolation and controlled fragmentation, providing structural analysis capabilities. The flight-like engineering test unit (ETU) of the ITMS, now under construction, will be used to verify breadboard performance with high fidelity, while simultaneously supporting the development of analytical scripts and spectral libraries using synthetic and natural Mars analog samples guided by current results from MSL. ETU campaign data will strongly advise the specifics of the calibration applied to the MOMA flight model as well as the science operational procedures during the mission.

  3. Human Mars Surface Mission Nuclear Power Considerations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rucker, Michelle A.

    2018-01-01

    A key decision facing Mars mission designers is how to power a crewed surface field station. Unlike the solar-powered Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) that could retreat to a very low power state during a Martian dust storm, human Mars surface missions are estimated to need at least 15 kilowatts of electrical (kWe) power simply to maintain critical life support and spacecraft functions. 'Hotel' loads alone for a pressurized crew rover approach two kWe; driving requires another five kWe-well beyond what the Curiosity rover’s Radioisotope Power System (RPS) was designed to deliver. Full operation of a four-crew Mars field station is estimated at about 40 kWe. Clearly, a crewed Mars field station will require a substantial and reliable power source, beyond the scale of robotic mission experience. This paper explores the applications for both fission and RPS nuclear options for Mars.

  4. Rover-based visual target tracking validation and mission infusion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Won S.; Steele, Robert D.; Ansar, Adnan I.; Ali, Khaled; Nesnas, Issa

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER'03), Spirit and Opportunity, represent the state of the art in rover operations on Mars. This paper presents validation experiments of different visual tracking algorithms using the rover's navigation camera.

  5. Mesoscale modeling of the water vapor cycle at Mawrth Vallis: a Mars2020 and ExoMars exploration rovers high-priority landing site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pla-García, Jorge

    2017-04-01

    Introduction: The Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS) was used to predict meteorological conditions that are likely to be encountered by the Mars 2020 (NASA) Rover at several of their respective proposed landing sites during entry, descent, and landing at Ls5 [1] and by the ExoMars (ESA) Rover at one of the final landing sites. MRAMS is ideally suited for this type of investigation; the model is explicitly designed to simu-late Mars' atmospheric circulations at the mesoscale and smaller with realistic, high-resolution surface proper-ties [2, 3]. One of the sights studied for both rovers was Mawrth Vallis (MV), an ancient water outflow channel with light colored clay-rich rocks in the mid-latitude north hemisphere (Oxia Palus quadrangle). MV is the northernmost of the Mars2020 and ExoMars landing sites and the closest to the northern polar cap water source. The primary source of water vapor to the atmosphere is the northern polar cap during the northern summer. In order to highlight MV habitability implications, additional numerical experiments at Ls90, 140 and 180, highest column abundance of water vapor is found over MV [4], were performed to study how the atmospheric circulation connects MV with the polar water source. Once the winter CO2 retreats, the underlying polar water ice is exposed and begins to sublimate. The water is transported equatorward where it is manifested in the tropical aphelion cloud belt. If transport is assumed to be the result of the summer Hadley Cell, then the polar water is carried aloft in the northern high latitude rising branch before moving equatorward and eventually toward the southern high latitudes. Thus, the mean meridional summer circulation precludes a direct water vapor connection between MV and the polar source. Around the equinoxes (Ls0 and Ls180), there is a brief transition period where the rising branch quickly crosses from one hemisphere into the other as it migrates to its more typical solstitial location

  6. Winds measured by the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover's Bagnold Dunes Campaign and comparison with numerical modeling using MarsWRF

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newman, Claire E.; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Marin, Mercedes; Navarro, Sara; Torres, Josefina; Richardson, Mark I.; Battalio, J. Michael; Guzewich, Scott D.; Sullivan, Robert; de la Torre, Manuel; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Bridges, Nathan T.

    2017-07-01

    A high density of REMS wind measurements were collected in three science investigations during MSL's Bagnold Dunes Campaign, which took place over ∼80 sols around southern winter solstice (Ls∼90°) and constituted the first in situ analysis of the environmental conditions, morphology, structure, and composition of an active dune field on Mars. The Wind Characterization Investigation was designed to fully characterize the near-surface wind field just outside the dunes and confirmed the primarily upslope/downslope flow expected from theory and modeling of the circulation on the slopes of Aeolis Mons in this season. The basic pattern of winds is 'upslope' (from the northwest, heading up Aeolis Mons) during the daytime (∼09:00-17:00 or 18:00) and 'downslope' (from the southeast, heading down Aeolis Mons) at night (∼20:00 to some time before 08:00). Between these times the wind rotates largely clockwise, giving generally westerly winds mid-morning and easterly winds in the early evening. The timings of these direction changes are relatively consistent from sol to sol; however, the wind direction and speed at any given time shows considerable intersol variability. This pattern and timing is similar to predictions from the MarsWRF numerical model, run at a resolution of ∼490 m in this region, although the model predicts the upslope winds to have a stronger component from the E than the W, misses a wind speed peak at ∼09:00, and under-predicts the strength of daytime wind speeds by ∼2-4 m/s. The Namib Dune Lee Investigation reveals 'blocking' of northerly winds by the dune, leaving primarily a westerly component to the daytime winds, and also shows a broadening of the 1 Hz wind speed distribution likely associated with lee turbulence. The Namib Dune Side Investigation measured primarily daytime winds at the side of the same dune, in support of aeolian change detection experiments designed to put limits on the saltation threshold, and also appears to show the

  7. FIDO Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    The Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover is being used in ongoing NASA field tests to simulate driving conditions on Mars. FIDO is at a geologically interesting site in central Nevada while it is controlled from the mission control room at JPL's Planetary Robotics Laboratory in Pasadena. FIDO uses a robot arm to manipulate science instruments and it has a new mini-corer or drill to extract and cache rock samples. Several camera systems onboard allow the rover to collect science and navigation images by remote-control. The rover is about the size of a coffee table and weighs as much as a St. Bernard, about 70 kilograms (150 pounds). It is approximately 85 centimeters (about 33 inches) wide, 105 centimeters (41 inches) long, and 55 centimeters (22 inches) high. The rover moves up to 300 meters an hour (less than a mile per hour) over smooth terrain, using its onboard stereo vision systems to detect and avoid obstacles as it travels 'on-the-fly.' During these tests, FIDO is powered by both solar panels that cover the top of the rover and by replaceable, rechargeable batteries.

  8. Microbial Ecology of a Crewed Rover Traverse in the Arctic: Low Microbial Dispersal and Implications for Planetary Protection on Human Mars Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuerger, Andrew C.; Lee, Pascal

    2015-01-01

    Between April 2009 and July 2011, the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) led the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition (NWPDX), a multi-staged long-distance crewed rover traverse along the Northwest Passage in the Arctic. In April 2009, the HMP Okarian rover was driven 496 km over sea ice along the Northwest Passage, from Kugluktuk to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada. During the traverse, crew members collected samples from within the rover and from undisturbed snow-covered surfaces around the rover at three locations. The rover samples and snow samples were stored at subzero conditions (-20C to -1C) until processed for microbial diversity in labs at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The objective was to determine the extent of microbial dispersal away from the rover and onto undisturbed snow. Interior surfaces of the rover were found to be associated with a wide range of bacteria (69 unique taxa) and fungi (16 unique taxa). In contrast, snow samples from the upwind, downwind, uptrack, and downtrack sample sites exterior to the rover were negative for both bacteria and fungi except for two colony-forming units (cfus) recovered from one downwind (1 cfu; site A4) and one uptrack (1 cfu; site B6) sample location. The fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus (GenBank JX517279), and closely related bacteria in the genus Brevibacillus were recovered from both snow (B. agri, GenBank JX517278) and interior rover surfaces. However, it is unknown whether the microorganisms were deposited onto snow surfaces at the time of sample collection (i.e., from the clothing or skin of the human operator) or via airborne dispersal from the rover during the 12-18 h layovers at the sites prior to collection. Results support the conclusion that a crewed rover traveling over previously undisturbed terrain may not significantly contaminate the local terrain via airborne dispersal of propagules from the vehicle. Key Words: Planetary protection-Contamination-Habitability-Haughton Crater-Mars. Astrobiology

  9. Microbial Ecology of a Crewed Rover Traverse in the Arctic: Low Microbial Dispersal and Implications for Planetary Protection on Human Mars Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuerger, Andrew C.; Lee, Pascal

    2015-01-01

    Between April 2009 and July 2011, the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) led the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition (NWPDX), a multi-staged long-distance crewed rover traverse along the Northwest Passage in the Arctic. In April 2009, the HMP Okarian rover was driven 496 km over sea ice along the Northwest Passage, from Kugluktuk to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada. During the traverse, crew members collected samples from within the rover and from undisturbed snow-covered surfaces around the rover at three locations. The rover samples and snow samples were stored at subzero conditions (-20C to -1C) until processed for microbial diversity in labs at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The objective was to determine the extent of microbial dispersal away from the rover and onto undisturbed snow. Interior surfaces of the rover were found to be associated with a wide range of bacteria (69 unique taxa) and fungi (16 unique taxa). In contrast, snow samples from the upwind, downwind, uptrack, and downtrack sample sites exterior to the rover were negative for both bacteria and fungi except for two colony-forming units (cfus) recovered from one downwind (1 cfu; site A4) and one uptrack (1 cfu; site B6) sample location. The fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus (GenBank JX517279), and closely related bacteria in the genus Brevibacillus were recovered from both snow (B. agri, GenBank JX517278) and interior rover surfaces. However, it is unknown whether the microorganisms were deposited onto snow surfaces at the time of sample collection (i.e., from the clothing or skin of the human operator) or via airborne dispersal from the rover during the 12-18 h layovers at the sites prior to collection. Results support the conclusion that a crewed rover traveling over previously undisturbed terrain may not significantly contaminate the local terrain via airborne dispersal of propagules from the vehicle. Key Words: Planetary protection-Contamination-Habitability-Haughton Crater-Mars. Astrobiology

  10. APXS of First Rocks Encountered by Curiosity in Gale Crater: Geochemical Diversity and Volatile Element (K and ZN) Enrichment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, M. E.; King, P. L.; Gellert, R.; Elliott, B.; Thompson, L.; Berger, J.; Bridges, J.; Campbell, J. L; Grotzinger, J.; Hurowitz, J.; Leshin, L.; Lewis, K. W.; McLennan, S. M.; Ming, D. W.; Perrett, G.; Pradler, I.; Stolper, E. M.; Squyres, S. W.; Greiman, A. H.

    2013-01-01

    The Alpha Particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) on the Curiosity rover in Gale Crater [1] is the 4th such instrument to have landed on Mars [2]. Along the rover's traverse down-section toward Glenelg (through sol 102), the APXS has examined four rocks and one soil [3]. Gale rocks are geochemically diverse and expand the range of Martian rock compositions to include high volatile and alkali contents (up to 3.0 wt% K2O) with high Fe and Mn (up to 29.2% FeO*).

  11. Measurements of energetic particle radiation in transit to Mars on the Mars Science Laboratory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeitlin, C; Hassler, D M; Cucinotta, F A; Ehresmann, B; Wimmer-Schweingruber, R F; Brinza, D E; Kang, S; Weigle, G; Böttcher, S; Böhm, E; Burmeister, S; Guo, J; Köhler, J; Martin, C; Posner, A; Rafkin, S; Reitz, G

    2013-05-31

    The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, containing the Curiosity rover, was launched to Mars on 26 November 2011, and for most of the 253-day, 560-million-kilometer cruise to Mars, the Radiation Assessment Detector made detailed measurements of the energetic particle radiation environment inside the spacecraft. These data provide insights into the radiation hazards that would be associated with a human mission to Mars. We report measurements of the radiation dose, dose equivalent, and linear energy transfer spectra. The dose equivalent for even the shortest round-trip with current propulsion systems and comparable shielding is found to be 0.66 ± 0.12 sievert.

  12. Volatile and organic compositions of sedimentary rocks in Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ming, D.W.; Archer Jr., P.D.; Glavin, D.P.; Eigenbrode, J.L.; Franz, H.B.; Sutter, B.; Brunner, A.E.; Stern, J.C.; Freissinet, C.; McAdam, A.C.; Mahaffy, P.R.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Campbell, J.L.; Atreya, S.K.; Niles, P.B.; Bell III, J.F.; Bish, D.L.; Brinckerhoff, W.B.; Buch, A.; Conrad, P.G.; Des Marais, D.J.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Fairén, A.G.; Farley, K.; Flesch, G.J.; Francois, P.; Gellert, R.; Grant, J.A.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K.E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Leshin, L.A.; Lewis, K.W.; McLennan, S.M.; Miller, K.E.; Moersch, J.; Morris, R.V.; Navarro-González, R.; Pavlov, A.A.; Perrett, G.M.; Pradler, I.; Squyres, S.W.; Summons, R.E.; Steele, A.; Stolper, E.M.; Sumner, D.Y.; Szopa, C.; Teinturier, S.; Trainer, M.G.; Treiman, A.H.; Vaniman, D.T.; Vasavada, A.R.; Webster, C.R.; Wray, J.J.; Yingst, R.A.; MSL Science Team, the

    2014-01-01

    H2O, CO2, SO2, O2, H2, H2S, HCl, chlorinated hydrocarbons, NO, and other trace gases were evolved during pyrolysis of two mudstone samples acquired by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay within Gale crater, Mars. H2O/OH-bearing phases included 2:1 phyllosilicate(s), bassanite, akaganeite, and amo

  13. Elemental geochemistry of sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    McLennan, S.M.; Anderson, R.B.; Bell III, J.F.; Bridges, J.C.; Calef III, F.; Campbell, J.L.; Clark, B.C.; Clegg, S.; Conrad, P.; Cousin, A.; Des Marais, D.J.; Dromart, G.; Dyar, M.D.; Edgar, L.A.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Fabre, C.; Forni, O.; Gasnault, O.; Gellert, R.; Gordon, S.; Grant, J.A.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K.E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; King, P.L.; Mouélic, S.L.; Leshin, L.A.; Léveillé, R.; Lewis, K.W.; Mangold, N.; Maurice, S.; Ming, D.W.; Morris, R.V.; Nachon, M.; Newsom, H.E.; Ollila, A.M.; Perrett, G.M.; Rice, M.S.; Schmidt, M.E.; Schwenzer, S.P.; Stack, K.; Stolper, E.M.; Sumner, D.Y.; Treiman, A.H.; VanBommel, S.; Vaniman, D.T.; Vasavada, A.; Wiens, R.C.; Yingst, R.A.; ten Kate, Inge Loes

    2014-01-01

    Sedimentary rocks examined by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay, Mars, were derived from sources that evolved from an approximately average martian crustal composition to one influenced by alkaline basalts. No evidence of chemical weathering is preserved, indicating arid, possibly cold, paleocl

  14. X-ray diffraction results from mars science laboratory: Mineralogy of rocknest at Gale crater

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bish, D.L.; Blake, D.F.; Vaniman, D.T.; Chipera, S.J.; Morris, R.V.; Ming, D.W.; Treiman, A.H.; Sarrazin, P.; Morrison, S.M.; Downs, R.T.; Achilles, C.N.; Yen, A.S.; Bristow, T.F.; Crisp, J.A.; Morookian, J.M.; Farmer, J.D.; Rampe, E.B.; Stolper, E.M.; Spanovich, N.; MSL Science Team, the

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity scooped samples of soil from the Rocknest aeolian bedform in Gale crater. Analysis of the soil with the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) x-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument revealed plagioclase (~An57), forsteritic olivine (~Fo62), augite, and pigeonite, w

  15. Chemical Composition by the APXS along the Downhill Traverse of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit at Gusev Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruckner, J.; Dreibus, G.; Gellert, R.; Clark, B.C.; Cohen, B.; McCoy, T.; Ming, D.W.; Mittlefehldt, D.W.; Yen, A.; Athena Science Team

    2006-01-01

    The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) onboard the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit continues to determine the elemental composition of samples at Gusev Crater. Starting around sol 600 the rover descended Husband Hill, which is part of the Columbia Hills, visited the inner basin with a large dune field, called 'El Dorado', and parked at Low Ridge to conserve energy during the martian winter. Many unique samples were discovered by the instruments onboard Spirit during her downhill traverse. Here, we report only on the chemical data obtained by the APXS. The compositions of some of the soil samples are comparable to the mean soil determined along the earlier traverse. However, a light-toned subsurface sample (disturbed by the rover wheels), called Dead Sea Samra , showed the highest sulfur content of all soil samples, the lowest Na, Mg, Al, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Mn, and Zn, among the lowest Si and P, and among the highest Cr, Fe and Ni. Assuming ferric sulfate as a major mineral, large amounts of a pure silica phase must be present. Color and quantity of Dead Sea Samra resemble somewhat an earlier soil called Paso Robles , though the latter is a mixture of sulfates with phosphate-rich soil. Manganese in Dead Sea Samra is so low that the Fe/Mn ratio exceeds 300, a value that has never been found previously on Mars (Fe/Mn ratio of 46 for Gusev basalts), indicating that only Fe(3+) occurs. The dune field El Dorado contained granulated material that exhibited the highest Mg and Ni concentrations and the lowest S and Cl compared to all other soils implying an enrichment of olivine-rich sands. Two outcrops, called Algonquin and Comanche , revealed compositions that differ significantly from those of earlier outcrops as they have the highest concentrations of Mg, Fe, and Ni (except for Ni in Independence) and the lowest of Al, K (detection limit), Ca, and Ti of all brushed and almost all abraded rocks. Normative estimates assign them the highest olivine contents ever found for

  16. Chemical Composition by the APXS along the Downhill Traverse of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit at Gusev Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brueckner, J.; Dreibus, G.; Gellert, R.; Clark, B. C.; Cohen, B.; McCoy, T.; Ming, D. W.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Yen, A.; Team, A. S.

    2006-12-01

    The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) onboard the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit continues to determine the elemental composition of samples at Gusev Crater. Starting around sol 600 the rover descended Husband Hill, which is part of the Columbia Hills, visited the inner basin with a large dune field, called `El Dorado', and parked at `Low Ridge' to conserve energy during the martian winter. Many unique samples were discovered by the instruments onboard Spirit during her downhill traverse. Here, we report only on the chemical data obtained by the APXS. The compositions of some of the soil samples are comparable to the mean soil determined along the earlier traverse. However, a light-toned subsurface sample (disturbed by the rover wheels), called `Dead Sea Samra', showed the highest sulfur content of all soil samples, the lowest Na, Mg, Al, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Mn, and Zn, among the lowest Si and P, and among the highest Cr, Fe and Ni. Assuming ferric sulfate as a major mineral, large amounts of a pure silica phase must be present. Color and quantity of Dead Sea Samra resemble somewhat an earlier soil called `Paso Robles', though the latter is a mixture of sulfates with phosphate-rich soil. Manganese in Dead Sea Samra is so low that the Fe/Mn ratio exceeds 300, a value that has never been found previously on Mars (Fe/Mn ratio of 46 for Gusev basalts), indicating that only Fe3+ occurs. The dune field El Dorado contained granulated material that exhibited the highest Mg and Ni concentrations and the lowest S and Cl compared to all other soils implying an enrichment of olivine-rich sands. Two outcrops, called `Algonquin' and `Comanche', revealed compositions that differ significantly from those of earlier outcrops as they have the highest concentrations of Mg, Fe, and Ni (except for Ni in `Independence') and the lowest of Al, K (detection limit), Ca, and Ti of all brushed and almost all abraded rocks. Normative estimates assign them the highest olivine contents ever

  17. The Proposed Mars Astrobiology Explorer - Cacher [MAX-C] Rover: First Step in a Potential Sample Return Campaign

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, Carlton C.; Beaty, David W.

    2010-01-01

    Sample return from Mars has been advocated by numerous scientific advisory panels for over 30 years, most prominently beginning with the National Research Council s [1] strategy for the exploration of the inner solar system, and most recently by the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG s) Next Decade Science Analysis Group [2]. Analysis of samples here on Earth would have enormous advantages over in situ analyses in producing the data quality needed to address many of the complex scientific questions the community has posed about Mars. Instead of a small, predetermined set of analytical techniques, state of the art preparative and instrumental resources of the entire scientific community could be applied to the samples. The analytical emphasis could shift as the meaning of each result becomes better appreciated. These arguments apply both to igneous rocks and to layered sedimentary materials, either of which could contain water and other volatile constituents. In 2009 MEPAG formed the Mid-Range Rover Science Analysis Group (MRR-SAG) to formulate a mission concept that would address two general objectives: (1) conduct high-priority in situ science and (2) make concrete steps towards the potential return of samples to Earth. This analysis resulted in a mission concept named the Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher (MAX-C), which was envisioned for launch in the 2018 opportunity. After extensive discussion, this group concluded that by far the most definitive contribution to sample return by this mission would be to collect and cache, in an accessible location, a suite of compelling samples that could potentially be recovered and returned by a subsequent mission. This would have the effect of separating two of the essential functions of MSR, the acquisition of the sample collection and its delivery to martian orbit, into two missions.

  18. Amazonian chemical weathering rate derived from stony meteorite finds at Meridiani Planum on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schröder, Christian; Bland, Phil A.; Golombek, Matthew P.; Ashley, James W.; Warner, Nicholas H.; Grant, John A.

    2016-11-01

    Spacecraft exploring Mars such as the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, as well as the Mars Science Laboratory or Curiosity rover, have accumulated evidence for wet and habitable conditions on early Mars more than 3 billion years ago. Current conditions, by contrast, are cold, extremely arid and seemingly inhospitable. To evaluate exactly how dry today's environment is, it is important to understand the ongoing current weathering processes. Here we present chemical weathering rates determined for Mars. We use the oxidation of iron in stony meteorites investigated by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity at Meridiani Planum. Their maximum exposure age is constrained by the formation of Victoria crater and their minimum age by erosion of the meteorites. The chemical weathering rates thus derived are ~1 to 4 orders of magnitude slower than that of similar meteorites found in Antarctica where the slowest rates are observed on Earth.

  19. One Martian Year of in Situ Chemistry by the APXS on Board the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity at Meridiani Planum

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brueckner, J.; Dreibus, G.; Gellert, R.; Clark, B. C.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Lugmair, G.; Ming, D.; Rieder, R.; Waenke, H.; Yen, A.; Zipfel, J.

    2005-12-01

    Two in-situ instruments, the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and the Moessbauer Spectrometer (MB), gathered geochemical and mineralogical data along the traverse of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity at Meridiani Planum. Eagle crater, the landing site of the rover, contains undisturbed soils that resemble those at Gusev crater; however, the Fe, Ni, and Cr contents and Fe/Si ratios of Meridiani soils are higher than those of Gusev soils. The enrichment of Fe results from an admixture of the mineral hematite as determined by MB. This mineral occurs as a finely disseminated component of the outcrop rocks as well as in mm- to several mm-sized spherules, nicknamed blueberries, which are spread at the landing site and along the several kilometers traverse to the Erebus crater. The formation of hematite is typically an indicator for aqueous activity under oxidizing conditions. Light-toned layered outcrops were discovered in Eagle crater and later in other craters, as well as along the rover's traverse. Most of these undisturbed rock surfaces have a factor of 2 to 3 higher S concentrations compared to the soils. In Eagle crater, ground rock surfaces (exposed by the Rock Abrasion Tool, or RAT) showed even higher S contents of up to 9.5 weight percent. Assuming all SO3 is bound to Mg and Ca sulfates and, according to MB data, to ferric sulfates, mainly jarosite, these rocks contain about 40 weight percent sulfates. High concentrations of Br were discovered in some soils excavated with the rover wheels and rocks ground with the RAT. The high abundances of S and Br in these rocks point to ancient occurrence of acidified water and the formation of brines, which could have been occasionally evaporated. Small quantities of the hematite-rich spherules (ca. 2 volume percent) were found in the rocks of Eagle crater. The acidic conditions during the formation of the hematitic spherules in the rocks as concretions allowed co-precipitation of Fe2O3 and NiO but no MnO. When

  20. SuperCam Remote Sensing on the Mars 2020 Rover: Science Goals and Overview

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiens, R. C.; Maurice, S.; Rull, F.; SuperCam Team

    2016-10-01

    The Mars 2020 Science Definition Team (SDT) report emphasized the importance of fine-scale measurements, suggesting that the numerous pin-point observations made at remote distances by ChemCam was a very desirable capability.

  1. Relay Support for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Charles D. Jr,; Bell, David J.; Gladden, Roy E.; Ilott, Peter A.; Jedrey, Thomas C.; Johnston, M. Daniel; Maxwell, Jennifer L.; Mendoza, Ricardo; McSmith, Gaylon W.; Potts, Christopher L.; Schratz, Brian C.; Shihabi, Mazen M.; Srinivasan, Jeffrey M.; Varghese, Phillip; Sanders, Stephen S.; Denis, Michel

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission landed the Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars on August 6, 2012, beginning a one-Martian-year primary science mission. An international network of Mars relay orbiters, including NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey Orbiter (ODY) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and ESA's Mars Express Orbiter (MEX), were positioned to provide critical event coverage of MSL's Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL). The EDL communication plan took advantage of unique and complementary capabilities of each orbiter to provide robust information capture during this critical event while also providing low-latency information during the landing. Once on the surface, ODY and MRO have provided effectively all of Curiosity's data return from the Martian surface. The link from Curiosity to MRO incorporates a number of new features enabled by the Electra and Electra-Lite software-defined radios on MRO and Curiosity, respectively. Specifically, the Curiosity-MRO link has for the first time on Mars relay links utilized frequency-agile operations, data rates up to 2.048 Mb/s, suppressed carrier modulation, and a new Adaptive Data Rate algorithm in which the return link data rate is optimally varied throughout the relay pass based on the actual observed link channel characteristics. In addition to the baseline surface relay support by ODY and MRO, the MEX relay service has been verified in several successful surface relay passes, and MEX now stands ready to provide backup relay support should NASA's orbiters become unavailable for some period of time.

  2. What We Might Know About Gusev Crater if the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit Mission were Coupled with a Mars Sample Return Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, Richard V.

    2008-01-01

    The science instruments on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit have provided an enormous amount of chemical and mineralogical data during more than 1450 sols of exploration at Gusev crater. The Moessbauer (MB) instrument identified 10 Fe-bearing phases at Gusev Crater: olivine, pyroxene, ilmenite, chromite, and magnetite as primary igneous phases and nanophase ferric oxide (npOx), goethite, hematite, a ferric sulfate, and pyrite/marcusite as secondary phases. The Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) identified some of these Fe-bearing phases (olivine and pyroxene), non- Fe-bearing phases (e.g., feldspar), and an amorphous high-SiO2 phase near Home Plate. Chemical data from the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) provided the framework for rock classification, chemical weathering/alteration, and mineralogical constraints. APXS-based mineralogical constraints include normative calculations (with Fe(3+)/FeT from MB), elemental associations, and stoichiometry (e.g., 90% SiO2 implicates opalline silica). If Spirit had cached a set of representative samples and if those samples were returned to the Earth for laboratory analysis, what value is added by Mars Sample return (MSR) over and above the mineralogical and chemical data provided by MER?

  3. Physical properties of the Mars Exploration Rover landing sites as inferred from Mini-TES-derived thermal inertia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fergason, R.L.; Christensen, P.R.; Bell, J.F.; Golombek, M.P.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Kieffer, H.H.

    2006-01-01

    The Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) on board the two Mars Exploration Rovers provides the first opportunity to observe thermal properties from the Martian surface, relate these properties to orbital data, and perform soil conductivity experiments under Martian conditions. The thermal inertias of soils, bedforms, and rock at each landing site were derived to quantify the physical properties of these features and understand geologic processes occurring at these localities. The thermal inertia for the. Gusev plains rock target Bonneville Beacon (???1200 J m-2 K-1 s-1/2) is consistent with a dense, basaltic rock, but the rocks at the Columbia Hills have a lower thermal inertia (???620 J m-2 K-1 s-1/2), suggesting that they have a volcaniclasic origin. Bedforms on the floors of craters at both landing sites have thermal inertias of 200 J m-2 K-1 s-1/2, consistent with a particle diameter of ???160 ??m. This diameter is comparable to the most easily moved grain size in the current atmosphere on Mars, suggesting that these bedforms may have formed under current atmospheric conditions. Along the Meridiani plains, the thermal inertia is lower than that derived from TES and Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) orbital data. This discrepancy is not well understood. Mini-TES-derived thermal inertias at Gusev along a ???2.5 km traverse follow trends in thermal inertia measured from orbit with TES and THEMIS. However, along the traverse, there are variability and mixing of particle sizes that are not resolved in the orbital thermal inertia data due to meter-scale processes that are not identifiable at larger scales. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

  4. A systems analysis of the impact of navigation instrumentation on-board a Mars rover, based on a covariance analysis of navigation performance. M.S. Thesis, Massachusetts Inst. of Technology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leber, Douglas Eric

    1992-01-01

    As part of the Space Exploration Initiative, the exploration of Mars will undoubtedly require the use of rovers, both manned and unmanned. Many mission scenarios have been developed, incorporating rovers which range in size from a few centimeters to ones large enough to carry a manned crew. Whatever the mission, accurate navigation of the rover on the Martian surface will be necessary. This thesis considers the initial rover missions, where minimal in-situ navigation aids will be available on Mars. A covariance analysis of the rover's navigation performance is conducted, assuming minimal on-board instrumentation (gyro compass and speedometer), a single orbiting satellite, and a surface beacon at the landing site. Models of the on-board instruments are varied to correspond to the accuracy of various levels of these instruments currently available. A comparison is made with performance of an on-board IMU. Landing location and satellite orbits are also varied.

  5. Astrobiology and the Exploration of Gusev Crater by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit

    Science.gov (United States)

    DesMarais, I. David

    2005-01-01

    We assess the availability of nutrient elements, energy and liquid water on the plains surrounding Columbia Memorial Station by evaluating data from Spirit in the context of previous Mars missions, Earth-based studies of martian meteorites and studies of microbial communities on Earth that represent potential analogs of martian biota. The compositions of Gusev basalts resemble those of olivine basalts beneath the seabed on Earth that deep drilling has shown to support life. Of particular relevance to biology, phosphate abundances are much greater in Gusev basalts (0.84 +/- 0.07 wt. % P2O5) than in oceanic basalts (typically 0.06 wt. %).

  6. Development and Testing of Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy for the Mars Rover Program: Elemental Analyses at Stand-Off Distances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cremers, D. A.; Wiens, R. C.; Arp, Z. A.; Harris, R. D.; Maurice, S.

    2003-01-01

    arms. The placement of such an instrument on a rover would allow the sampling of locations distant from the landing site. Here we give a description of the LIBS method and its advantages. We discuss recent work on determining its characteristics for Mars exploration, including accuracy, detection limits, and suitability for determining the presence of water ice and hydrated minerals. We also give a description of prototype instruments we have tested in field settings.

  7. Redox stratification of an ancient lake in Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hurowitz, J. A.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Fischer, W. W.; McLennan, S. M.; Milliken, R. E.; Stein, N.; Vasavada, A. R.; Blake, D. F.; Dehouck, E.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Fairén, A. G.; Frydenvang, J.; Gellert, R.; Grant, J. A.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Schmidt, M. E.; Siebach, K. L.; Stack-Morgan, K.; Sumner, D. Y.; Wiens, R. C.

    2017-06-01

    In 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars to assess its potential as a habitat for past life and investigate the paleoclimate record preserved by sedimentary rocks inside the ~150-kilometer-diameter Gale impact crater. Geological reconstructions from Curiosity rover data have revealed an ancient, habitable lake environment fed by rivers draining into the crater. We synthesize geochemical and mineralogical data from lake-bed mudstones collected during the first 1300 martian solar days of rover operations in Gale. We present evidence for lake redox stratification, established by depth-dependent variations in atmospheric oxidant and dissolved-solute concentrations. Paleoclimate proxy data indicate that a transition from colder to warmer climate conditions is preserved in the stratigraphy. Finally, a late phase of geochemical modification by saline fluids is recognized.

  8. Risk analysis of earth return options for the Mars rover/sample return mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    1988-01-01

    Four options for return of a Mars surface sample to Earth were studied to estimate the risk of mission failure and the risk of a sample container breach that might result in the release of Martian life forms, should such exist, in the Earth's biosphere. The probabilities calculated refer only to the time period from the last midcourse correction burn to possession of the sample on Earth. Two extreme views characterize this subject. In one view, there is no life on Mars, therefore there is no significant risk and no serious effort is required to deal with back contamination. In the other view, public safety overrides any desire to return Martian samples, and any risk of damaging contamination greater than zero is unacceptable. Zero risk requires great expense to achieve and may prevent the mission as currently envisioned from taking place. The major conclusion is that risk of sample container breach can be reduced to a very low number within the framework of the mission as now envisioned, but significant expense and effort, above that currently planned is needed. There are benefits to the public that warrant some risk. Martian life, if it exists, will be a major discovery. If it does not, there is no risk.

  9. Automated localisation of Mars rovers using co-registered HiRISE-CTX-HRSC orthorectified images and wide baseline Navcam orthorectified mosaics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tao, Yu; Muller, Jan-Peter; Poole, William

    2016-12-01

    We present a wide range of research results in the area of orbit-to-orbit and orbit-to-ground data fusion, achieved within the EU-FP7 PRoVisG project and EU-FP7 PRoViDE project. We focus on examples from three Mars rover missions, i.e. MER-A/B and MSL, to provide examples of a new fully automated offline method for rover localisation. We start by introducing the mis-registration discovered between the current HRSC and HiRISE datasets. Then we introduce the HRSC to CTX and CTX to HiRISE co-registration workflow. Finally, we demonstrate results of wide baseline stereo reconstruction with fixed mast position rover stereo imagery and its application to ground-to-orbit co-registration with HiRISE orthorectified image. We show examples of the quantitative assessment of recomputed rover traverses, and extensional exploitation of the co-registered datasets in visualisation and within an interactive web-GIS.

  10. Two Years of Chemical Sampling on Meridiani Planum by the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer Onboard the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruckner, J.; Gellert, R.; Clark, B.C.; Dreibus, G.; Rieder, R.; Wanke, H.; d'Uston, C.; Economou, T.; Klingelhofer, G.; Lugmair, G.; Ming, D.W.; Squyres, S.W.; Yen, A.; Zipfel, J.

    2006-01-01

    For over two terrestrial years, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been exploring the martian surface at Meridiani Planum using the Athena instrument payload [1], including the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS). The APXS has a small sensor head that is mounted on the robotic arm of the rover. The chemistry, mineralogy and morphology of selected samples were investigated by the APXS along with the Moessbauer Spectrometer (MB) and the Microscopic Imager (MI). The Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) provided the possibility to dust and/or abrade rock surfaces down to several millimeters to expose fresh material for analysis. We report here on APXS data gathered along the nearly 6-kilometers long traverse in craters and plains of Meridiani.

  11. Mineralogic Context of the Circum-Chryse Planitia Candidate Landing Sites for the ExoMars Rover Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carter, John; Loizeau, Damien; Quantin, Cathy; Balme, Matt; Poulet, Francois; Gupta, Sanjeev; Vago, Jorge; Bibring, Jean-Pierre

    2015-04-01

    The ExoMars rover mission [1] will sample ancient, aqueously altered terrains to search for traces of extinct life and characterize the water history of Early Mars. These objectives translate into site-specific constraints in order to maximize the opportunity to access morphological and/or chemical markers for past aqueous environments and possibly life [2]. Currently, four candidate landing sites are being considered, all located on the margin of Chryse Planitia and all exhibiting hydrous clays within or near the ellipse. Assessing the composition and morphologic/stratigraphic context of these clays is necessary to narrow down possible formation scenarios and help rank the sites according to their relevance to the science goals. This work investigates the aqueous mineralogy of the circum-Chyrse region -where the LS are proposed-, in order to provide a framework for future in-depth investigations. Regional mapping of the clay mineralogy was performed using the OMEGA and CRISM NIR imaging spectrometers [3,4]. Global coverage of the circum-Chryse margin was achieved with OMEGA while detailed mapping was carried out locally with OMEGA and CRISM. Over 250 observations with pixel scales ranging 20 m - 4 km were investigated. Additionally, detailed analysis of the clay chemical composition was carried out using linear unmixing which provided the relative abundances of several Fe/Mg-rich phyllosilicate endmembers in the region. The analysis revealed large exposures of dominantly Fe/Mg-rich phyllosilicates over most of the preserved Noachian-aged margins of Chryse Planitia. These minerals have spectral features which are generally similar to what is found elsewhere on Mars [5], consistent with either vermiculites or smectite-bearing mixed-layered clays [6,7]. A regional outlier exists at and around the Mawrth Vallis LS: the most common clay there is likely Fe-rich nontronite associated with Al-rich phyllosilicates within layered deposits [8,9], indicating a different

  12. Slope activity in Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dundas, Colin M.; McEwen, Alfred S.

    2015-01-01

    High-resolution repeat imaging of Aeolis Mons, the central mound in Gale crater, reveals active slope processes within tens of kilometers of the Curiosity rover. At one location near the base of northeastern Aeolis Mons, dozens of transient narrow lineae were observed, resembling features (Recurring Slope Lineae) that are potentially due to liquid water. However, the lineae faded and have not recurred in subsequent Mars years. Other small-scale slope activity is common, but has different spatial and temporal characteristics. We have not identified confirmed RSL, which Rummel et al. (Rummel, J.D. et al. [2014]. Astrobiology 14, 887–968) recommended be treated as potential special regions for planetary protection. Repeat images acquired as Curiosity approaches the base of Aeolis Mons could detect changes due to active slope processes, which could enable the rover to examine recently exposed material.

  13. Organic Molecules in the Sheepbed Mudstone, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freissinet, C.; Glavin, D. P.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Miller, K. E.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Summons, R. E.; Brunner, A. E.; Buch, A.; Szopa, C.; Archer, P. D.; Franz, H. B.; Steele, A.

    2014-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity rover is designed to determine the inventory of organic and inorganic volatiles thermally released from solid samples using a combination of evolved gas analysis (EGA), gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS), and tunable laser spectroscopy. Here we report on various chlorinated hydrocarbons (chloromethanes, chlorobenzene and dichloroalkanes) detected at elevated levels above instrument background at the Cumberland (CB) drill site, and discuss their possible sources.

  14. Performance of the Linear Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer for the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) Investigation on the 2018 Exomars Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arevalo, Ricardo, Jr.; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Pinnick, Veronica T.; van Amerom, Friso H. W.; Danell, Ryan M.; Li, Xiang; Getty, Stephanie; Hovmand, Lars; Atanassova, Martina; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Chu, Zhiping; Goesmann, Fred; Steininger, Harald

    2014-01-01

    The 2018 ExoMars rover mission includes the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) investigation. MOMA will examine the chemical composition of samples acquired from depths of up to two meters below the martian surface, where organics may be protected from degradation derived from cosmic radiation and/or oxidative chemical reactions. When combined with the complement of instruments in the rover's Pasteur Payload, MOMA has the potential to reveal the presence of a wide range of organics preserved in a variety of mineralogical environments, and to begin to understand the structural character and potential origin of those compounds. The MOMA investigation is led by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) with the mass spectrometer subsystem provided by NASA GSFC. MOMA's linear ion trap mass spectrometer (ITMS) is designed to analyze molecular composition of: (i) gas evolved from pyrolyzed powder samples and separated in a gas chromatograph; and, (ii) ions directly desorbed from crushed solid samples at Mars ambient pressure, as enabled by a pulsed UV laser system, fast-actuating aperture valve and capillary ion inlet. Breadboard ITMS and associated electronics have been advanced to high end-to-end fidelity in preparation for flight hardware delivery to Germany in 2015.

  15. Mars Science Laboratory; A Model for Event-Based EPO

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayo, Louis; Lewis, E.; Cline, T.; Stephenson, B.; Erickson, K.; Ng, C.

    2012-10-01

    The NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and its Curiosity Rover, a part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, represent the most ambitious undertaking to date to explore the red planet. MSL/Curiosity was designed primarily to determine whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting microbial life. NASA's MSL education program was designed to take advantage of existing, highly successful event based education programs to communicate Mars science and education themes to worldwide audiences through live webcasts, video interviews with scientists, TV broadcasts, professional development for teachers, and the latest social media frameworks. We report here on the success of the MSL education program and discuss how this methodological framework can be used to enhance other event based education programs.

  16. MLAM Simulation of Martian Atmosphere around Curiosity Landing Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atlaskin, Evgeny; Harri, Ari-Matti; Kauhanen, Janne; Määttänen, Anni; Paton, Mark; Savijärvi, Hannu; Schmidt, Walter; Siili, Tero

    2013-04-01

    The NASA Mars Science Laboratory 'Curiosity' landed successfully in the Martian Gale crater close to the equator on 6 Aug 2012. As part of the environment monitoring instrument package REMS [1] the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) provided the pressure and humidity sensors. A similar pressure sensor was successfully flown earlier on the Phoenix lander mission in 2008 and on the Cassini / Huygens probe to Titan in 2005. The behaviour of the Martian atmosphere inside the Gale crater is dominated by its location close to the equator, the steep outer rims and the slopes of the central mountain. These complex topographical features make it ideally suited for a mesoscale atmospheric model like the Mars Limited Area Model (MLAM), developed jointly by the University of Helsinki (UH) and FMI to study mesoscale phenomena in the Martian Atmosphere [2]. MLAM is based on the hydro-static dynamical core of the HIgh Resolution Limited Area Model (HIRLAM), an operational weather prediction model-analysis system used by several European countries. Using the simulation tools already published observational data from the first three months of Curiosity's operations and detailed topographical feature information we will show the observations in the context of the atmospheric conditions in the wider Gale crater region. In preparation of the simulation also the UH 1-dimensional model [3] is being used to study the boundary layer behaviour in that area. The expected long operation time of the rover will additionally provide insight in the seasonal change of atmospheric conditions at the equator. Some aspects might already become visible by the time of the conference. Newest Curiosity/REMS data will be shown in session PS2.5 "Curiosity on Mars: First results". Reference: [1] Gómez-Elvira J. et al. (2012), Space Sci. Rev. 170, 583-640. [2] Kauhanen, J., Siili T., Järvenoja, S. and Savijärvi, H. (2008) , The Mars Limited Area Model (MLAM) and simulations of atmospheric circulations

  17. 2031, an edaphological Mars odyssey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrón, Vidal

    2016-04-01

    NASA is projecting to send humans to Mars in the 2030s. In the PICO session we will make a 4D experience, a journey in space and time. Wéll connect with a meeting in the future mission "Edaphos one" travelling to Mars in 2031. In that meeting, an international scientific team with one geophysicist, one mineralogist and two agronomist will review the state of the art of the geo-edaphological knowledge of the martian surface, based on the main Mars missions using orbiters (Mariner), landers (Viking) and rovers (Pathfinder, Spirit-Opportunity, Curiosity). A special attention will be devoted to the mineralogy of the iron oxides, as important aquamarkers. Finally, they discuss about the biological, physical and chemical limitations for plants growth on Mars. You can see the trailer of the presentation in this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRS0tPNpvFU

  18. Curiosity Questions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelsen, Jane; DeLorenzo, Chip

    2010-01-01

    Have you ever found yourself lecturing a child, with the best of intentions, in an attempt to help him or her learn a lesson or process a situation in a manner that you feel will be productive? Curiosity questions, which the authors also call What and How questions, help children process an experience, event, or natural consequence so that they…

  19. Design of a Mars atmosphere simulation chamber and testing a Raman Laser Spectrometer (RLS) under conditions pertinent to Mars rover missions

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Motamedi, K; Colin, AP; Hooijschuur, JH; Postma, O; Lootens, R; Pruijser, D; Stoevelaar, R; Ariese, F; Hutchinson, I B; Ingley, R; Davies, GR

    2015-01-01

    .... In this context, the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA selected a Raman spectrometer in the payload of the future ExoMars and Mars 2020 missions to identify organic compounds and mineral products indicative of biological activity on Mars...

  20. The Mars Science Laboratory Organic Check Material

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrad, Pamela G.; Eigenbrode, J. E.; Mogensen, C. T.; VonderHeydt, M. O.; Glavin, D. P.; Mahaffy, P. M.; Johnson, J. A.

    2011-01-01

    The Organic Check Material (OCM) has been developed for use on the Mars Science Laboratory mission to serve as a sample standard for verification of organic cleanliness and characterization of potential sample alteration as a function of the sample acquisition and portioning process on the Curiosity rover. OCM samples will be acquired using the same procedures for drilling, portioning and delivery as are used to study martian samples with The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite during MSL surface operations. Because the SAM suite is highly sensitive to organic molecules, the mission can better verify the cleanliness of Curiosity's sample acquisition hardware if a known material can be processed through SAM and compared with the results obtained from martian samples.

  1. Results of the First Astronaut-Rover (ASRO) Field Experiment: Lessons and Directions for the Human Exploration of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Kosmo, J. J.; Trevino, R. C.; Thomas, H.; Eppler, D.; Bualat, M. G.; Baker, K.; Huber, E.; Sierhuis, M.; Grin, E. A.

    1999-01-01

    The first Astronaut-Rover Interaction field experiment (hereafter designated as the ASRO project) took place Feb. 22-27, 1999, in Silver Lake, Mojave Desert, CA. The ASRO project is the result of a joint project between NASA Ames Research Center and Johnson Space Center. In the perspective of the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) of the Solar System, this interaction - the astronaut and the rover as a complementary and interactive team - in the field is critical to assess but had never been tested before the Silver Lake experiment. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  2. Identification of Phyllosilicates in Mudstone Samples Using Water Releases Detected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hogancamp, J. V. (Clark); Ming, D. W.; McAdam, A. C.; Archer, P. D.; Morris, R. V.; Bristow, T. F.; Rampe, E. B.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Gellert, R.

    2017-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Curiosity Rover has detected high temperature water releases from mud-stones in the areas of Yellowknife Bay, Pahrump Hills, Naukluft Plateau, and Murray Buttes in Gale crater. Dehydroxylation of phyllosilicates may have caused the high temperature water releases observed in these samples. Because each type of phyllosilicate undergoes dehydroxylation at distinct temperatures, these water releases can be used to help constrain the type of phyllosilicate present in each sample.

  3. A search of dust-devils and convective vortices inside Mars' Gale crater from REMS data on the MSL rover during 1159 sols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ordonez-Etxeberria, Inaki; Hueso, Ricardo; Sanchez-Lavega, Agustin

    2016-10-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover carries a meteorological suite of detectors that constitute the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) instrument (Gomez-Elvira et al, 2012). REMS investigates the meteorological conditions at Gale crater with a set of sensors that obtain pressure, air temperature and ground temperature measurements among others. We have run a search of atmospheric warm vortices that could result in dust devils and present a statistical study of the frequency of these events in the REMS pressure and temperature data from its first 1159 sols, from 7 August 2012 (Ls 152) to 10 November 2015 (Ls 67).A systematic search of short events (time-scales of a few seconds) of pressure drops results in 662 pressure drops with a signal stronger than 0.5 Pa, and with an average duration of 6.4 seconds. Of these events, 404 were diurnal (~61%, with the Sun over the horizon) and 258 were nocturnal. The diurnal pressure drops contains the most intense events and they peak close to noon (12:00-14:00 LMST) extending into the early afternoon hours. The nocturnal sudden pressure drops concentrate in the 20:00-23:00 LMST time interval and present a strong seasonality since they occur only from late spring to early summer. We interpret these nocturnal events not as local warm vortices, but as a consequence of local surface turbulence which is enhanced at Gale crater at summer night-time by the competition between local orographic circulation and global Hadley cell circulation (Rafkin et al, 2016).A comparison of the REMS diurnal data and similar pressure drop events in other latitudes from previous missions shows that the frequency of these events at Gale crater is significantly lower with less intense events than in other Mars locations explored by Mars Pathfinder and Phoenix. This agrees with the difficulties in finding external evidences of dust devils from MSL images or dust-devil tracks in the surface.

  4. Expressing Curiosity

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    段育付

    2009-01-01

    好奇是人的天性,它有时有助于人们发现或发明新事物。但是在日常交往中,对他人的一些新奇事物或情况则不宜表现出过分的好奇,否则会引起对方的反感。那么,如何用英语表达你的好奇心呢?让我们走进本期话题:Expressing curiosity

  5. Bringing data back from Mars: in-situ communications role--the rover to orbiter to Earth link

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, D. J.

    2001-01-01

    Over the coming decade, an international fleet of spacecraft will carry out the most intensive exploration to date of another world in our solar system. A wide range of orbiters, landers and rovers will conduct a linking together--detailed in-situ inbestigations, culminating in an eventual return of Martian surface, subsurface, and atmospheric samples to Earth for detailed laboratory evaluation.

  6. Mars Science Laboratory Mission and Science Investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grotzinger, John P.; Crisp, Joy; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Anderson, Robert C.; Baker, Charles J.; Barry, Robert; Blake, David F.; Conrad, Pamela; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Ferdowski, Bobak; Gellert, Ralf; Gilbert, John B.; Golombek, Matt; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Hassler, Donald M.; Jandura, Louise; Litvak, Maxim; Mahaffy, Paul; Maki, Justin; Meyer, Michael; Malin, Michael C.; Mitrofanov, Igor; Simmonds, John J.; Vaniman, David; Welch, Richard V.; Wiens, Roger C.

    2012-09-01

    Scheduled to land in August of 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mission was initiated to explore the habitability of Mars. This includes both modern environments as well as ancient environments recorded by the stratigraphic rock record preserved at the Gale crater landing site. The Curiosity rover has a designed lifetime of at least one Mars year (˜23 months), and drive capability of at least 20 km. Curiosity's science payload was specifically assembled to assess habitability and includes a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer and gas analyzer that will search for organic carbon in rocks, regolith fines, and the atmosphere (SAM instrument); an x-ray diffractometer that will determine mineralogical diversity (CheMin instrument); focusable cameras that can image landscapes and rock/regolith textures in natural color (MAHLI, MARDI, and Mastcam instruments); an alpha-particle x-ray spectrometer for in situ determination of rock and soil chemistry (APXS instrument); a laser-induced breakdown spectrometer to remotely sense the chemical composition of rocks and minerals (ChemCam instrument); an active neutron spectrometer designed to search for water in rocks/regolith (DAN instrument); a weather station to measure modern-day environmental variables (REMS instrument); and a sensor designed for continuous monitoring of background solar and cosmic radiation (RAD instrument). The various payload elements will work together to detect and study potential sampling targets with remote and in situ measurements; to acquire samples of rock, soil, and atmosphere and analyze them in onboard analytical instruments; and to observe the environment around the rover. The 155-km diameter Gale crater was chosen as Curiosity's field site based on several attributes: an interior mountain of ancient flat-lying strata extending almost 5 km above the elevation of the landing site; the lower few hundred meters of the mountain show a progression with relative age from clay-bearing to sulfate

  7. Calcium Sulfate Characterized by Chemcam/Curiousity at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nachon, M.; Clegg, S. M.; Mangold, N.; Schroeder, S.; Kah, L. C.; Dromart, G.; Ollila, A.; Johnson, J. R; Oehler, D. Z.; Bridges, J. C.; LeMouelic, S.; Forni, O.; Wiens, R. C.; Anderson, R. B.; Blaney, D. L.; Bell, J. F., III; Clark, B.; Cousin, A.; Dyar, M. D.; Ehlmann, B.; Fabre, C.; Gasnault, O.; Grotzinger, J.; Lasue, J.; Stack, K.

    2014-01-01

    Onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover, the ChemCam instrument consists of : (1) a Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) for elemental analysis of the targets and (2) a Remote Micro Imager (RMI), for the imaging context of laser analysis. Within the Gale crater, Curiosity traveled from Bradbury Landing through the Rocknest region and into Yellowknife Bay (YB). In the latter, abundant light-toned fracture-fill material occur. ChemCam analysis demonstrates that those fracture fills consist of calcium sulfates.[

  8. Ultra-high-precision alignment of the elastomerically mounted elements of the science camera lenses for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ghaemi, F Tony

    2011-09-10

    Cameras built for space exploration are required to meet stringent environmental conditions, such as thermal and dynamic loads for both the optics (camera lens) and imaging electronics. On a multitude of spaceborne imaging instruments, optical elements are supported in their mounts via an elastomeric bonding approach using a room temperature vulcanizing silicone as the bonding agent. Employing this integration method, we achieved element-to-element alignment, measured as the total indicated runout, using a high-precision contact probe to be on the order of half a wavelength of He-Ne laser light, or 0.3 μm, on the Malin Space Science Systems lenses for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) cameras. This is a higher precision than the current industry state-of-the-art, and it was achieved for the very challenging small diameter lens elements. This paper describes the design philosophy, implementation, and integration method that resulted in achieving this level of precision for interelement alignment. The results are based on actual measurements that were made during the process of building the MSL rover's science camera lenses, namely Mastcams, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, and the Mars Descent Imager. The optical designs of these cameras lenses are described in detail in [Opt. Eng.48, 103002 (2009)], while further information on the four science cameras can be found at http://www.msss.com.

  9. The Effect of CO2 Ice Cap Sublimation on Mars Atmosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batterson, Courtney

    2016-01-01

    Sublimation of the polar CO2 ice caps on Mars is an ongoing phenomenon that may be contributing to secular climate change on Mars. The transfer of CO2 between the surface and atmosphere via sublimation and deposition may alter atmospheric mass such that net atmospheric mass is increasing despite seasonal variations in CO2 transfer. My study builds on previous studies by Kahre and Haberle that analyze and compare data from the Phoenix and Viking Landers 1 and 2 to determine whether secular climate change is happening on Mars. In this project, I use two years worth of temperature, pressure, and elevation data from the MSL Curiosity rover to create a program that allows for successful comparison of Curiosity pressure data to Viking Lander pressure data so a conclusion can be drawn regarding whether CO2 ice cap sublimation is causing a net increase in atmospheric mass and is thus contributing to secular climate change on Mars.

  10. Aeolian sedimentary processes at the Bagnold Dunes, Mars: Implications for modern dune dynamics and sedimentary structures in the aeolian stratigraphic record of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ewing, Ryan C.; Bridges, Nathan T.; Sullivan, Rob; Lapotre, Mathieu G. A.; Fischer, Woodward W.; Lamb, Mike P.; Rubin, David M.; Lewis, Kevin W.; Gupta, Sanjeev

    2016-04-01

    Wind-blown sand dunes are ubiquitous on the surface of Mars and are a recognized component of the martian stratigraphic record. Our current knowledge of the aeolian sedimentary processes that determine dune morphology, drive dune dynamics, and create aeolian cross-stratification are based upon orbital studies of ripple and dune morphodynamics, rover observations of stratification on Mars, Earth analogs, and experimental and theoretical studies of sand movement under Martian conditions. In-situ observations of sand dunes (informally called the Bagnold Dunes) by Curiosity Rover in Gale Crater, Mars provide the first opportunity to make observations of dunes from the grain-to-dune scale thereby filling the gap in knowledge between theory and orbital observations and refining our understanding of the martian aeolian stratigraphic record. We use the suite of cameras on Curiosity, including Navigation Camera (Navcam), Mast Camera (Mastcam) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), to make observations of the Bagnold Dunes. Measurements of sedimentary structures are made where stereo images are available. Observations indicate that structures generated by gravity-driven processes on the dune lee slopes, such as grainflow and grainfall, are similar to the suite of aeolian sedimentary structures observed on Earth and should be present and recognizable in Mars' aeolian stratigraphic record. Structures formed by traction-driven processes deviate significantly from those found on Earth. The dune hosts centimeter-scale wind ripples and large, meter-scale ripples, which are not found on Earth. The large ripples migrate across the depositional, lee slopes of the dune, which implies that these structures should be present in Mars' stratigraphic record and may appear similar to compound-dune stratification.The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Team is acknowledged for their support of this work.

  11. Rover Magnets All Around

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    This illustration shows the locations of the various magnets on the Mars Exploration Rover, which are: its front side, or chest; its back, near the color calibration target; and on its rock abrasion tool. Scientists will use these tools to collect dust for detailed studies. The origins of martian dust are a mystery, although it is believed to come from at least one of three sources: volcanic ash, pulverized rocks or mineral precipitates from liqiud water. By studying the dust with the rover's two spectrometers, scientists hope to find an answer.

  12. Detection of Evolved Carbon Dioxide in the Rocknest Eolian Bedform by the Sample Analysis at Mars(SAM) Instrument at the Mars Curiosity Landing Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; Archer, D.; McAdam, A.; Franz, H.; Ming, D. W.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Glavin, D. P.; Mahaffy, P.; Stern, J.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.

    2013-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument detected four releases of carbon dioxide (CO2) that ranged from 100 to 700 C from the Rocknest eolian bedform material (Fig. 1). Candidate sources of CO2 include adsorbed CO2, carbonate(s), combusted organics that are either derived from terrestrial contamination and/or of martian origin, occluded or trapped CO2, and other sources that have yet to be determined. The Phoenix Lander s Thermal Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA) detected two CO2 releases (400-600, 700-840 C) [1,2]. The low temperature release was attributed to Fe- and/or Mg carbonates [1,2], per-chlorate interactions with carbonates [3], nanophase carbonates [4] and/or combusted organics [1]. The high temperature CO2 release was attributed to a calcium bearing carbonate [1,2]. No evidence of a high temperature CO2 release similar to the Phoenix material was detected in the Rocknest materials by SAM. The objectives of this work are to evaluate the temperature and total contribution of each Rocknest CO2 release and their possible sources. Four CO2 releases from the Rocknest material were detected by SAM. Potential sources of CO2 are adsorbed CO2, (peak 1) and Fe/Mg carbonates (peak 4). Only a fraction of peaks 2 and 3 (0.01 C wt.%) may be partially attributed to combustion of organic contamination. Meteoritic organics mixed in the Rocknest bedform could be present, but the peak 2 and 3 C concentration (approx.0.21 C wt. %) is likely too high to be attributed solely to meteoritic organic C. Other inorganic sources of C such as interactions of perchlorates and carbonates and sources yet to be identified will be evaluated to account for CO2 released from the thermal decomposition of Rocknest material.

  13. Modeling of Sulfide Microenvironments on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwenzer, S. P.; Bridges, J. C.; McAdam, A.; Steer, E. D.; Conrad, P. G.; Kelley, S. P.; Wiens, R. C.; Mangold, N.; Grotzinger, J.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Franz, H. B.; Sutter, B.

    2016-01-01

    Yellowknife Bay (YKB; sol 124-198) is the second site that the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity investigated in detail on its mission in Gale Crater. YKB represents lake bed sediments from an overall neutral pH, low salinity environment, with a mineralogical composition which includes Ca-sulfates, Fe oxide/hydroxides, Fe-sulfides, amorphous material, and trioctahedral phyllosilicates. We investigate whether sulfide alteration could be associated with ancient habitable microenvironments in the Gale mudstones. Some textural evidence for such alteration may be pre-sent in the nodules present in the mudstone.

  14. Thermal Reactivity of Organic Molecules in the Presence of Chlorates and Perchlorates and the Quest for Organics on Mars with the SAM Experiment Onboard the Curiostiy Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szopa, Cyril; Millan, Maeva; Buch, Arnaud; Belmahdi, Imene; Coll, Patrice; Glavin, Daniel P.; Freissinet, Caroline; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; archer, doug; sutter, brad; Summons, Roger; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; Mahaffy, Paul; cabane, Michel

    2016-10-01

    One of the main objectives of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) experiment is the in situ molecular analysis of gases evolving from solid samples collected by Curiosity when they are heated up to ~850°C. With this aim SAM uses a gas-chromatograph coupled to a mass spectrometer (GC-MS) able to detect and identify both inorganic and organic molecules released by the samples.During the pyrolysis, chemical reactions occur between oxychlorines, probably homogeneously distributed at Mars's surface, and organic compounds SAM seeks for. This was confirmed by the first chlorohydrocarbons (chloromethane and di- and trichloromethane) detected by SAM that were entirely attributed to reaction products occurring between these oxychlorines and organics from instrument background. But SAM also detected in the Sheepbed mudstone of Gale crater, chloroalkanes produced by reaction between oxychlorines and Mars indigenous organics, proving for the first time the presence of organics in the soil of Mars. However, the identification of the molecules at the origin of these chloroalkanes is much more difficult due to the complexity of the reactivity occurring during the sample pyrolysis. If a first study has already been done recently with this aim, it was relatively limited in terms of parameters investigated.This is the reason why, we performed a systematic study in the laboratory to help understanding the influence of oxychlorines on organic matter during pyrolysis. With this aim, different organic compounds from various chemical families (e.g. amino and carboxylic acids) mixed with different perchlorates and chlorates, in concentrations compatible with the Mars soil from estimations done with SAM measurements, were pyrolyzed under SAM like conditions. The products of reaction were analyzed and identified by GC-MS in order to show a possible correlation between them and the parent molecule. Different parameters were tested for the pyrolysis to evaluate their potential influence on the

  15. Microscope on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    This image taken at Meridiani Planum, Mars by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the rover's microscopic imager (circular device in center), located on its instrument deployment device, or 'arm.' The image was acquired on the ninth martian day or sol of the rover's mission.

  16. Microscope on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    This image taken at Meridiani Planum, Mars by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the rover's microscopic imager (circular device in center), located on its instrument deployment device, or 'arm.' The image was acquired on the ninth martian day or sol of the rover's mission.

  17. Influence of Dust Loading on Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Norman, Ryan B.; Gronoff, Guillaume; Mertens, Christopher J.

    2014-01-01

    Measuring the radiation environment at the surface of Mars is the primary goal of the Radiation Assessment Detector on the NASA Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover. One of the conditions that Curiosity will likely encounter is a dust storm. The objective of this paper is to compute the cosmic ray ionization in different conditions, including dust storms, as these various conditions are likely to be encountered by Curiosity at some point. In the present work, the Nowcast of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation for Aviation Safety model, recently modified for Mars, was used along with the Badhwar & O'Neill 2010 galactic cosmic ray model. In addition to galactic cosmic rays, five different solar energetic particle event spectra were considered. For all input radiation environments, radiation dose throughout the atmosphere and at the surface was investigated as a function of atmospheric dust loading. It is demonstrated that for galactic cosmic rays, the ionization depends strongly on the atmosphere profile. Moreover, it is shown that solar energetic particle events strongly increase the ionization throughout the atmosphere, including ground level, and can account for the radio blackout conditions observed by the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding instrument on the Mars Express spacecraft. These results demonstrate that the cosmic rays' influence on the Martian surface chemistry is strongly dependent on solar and atmospheric conditions that should be taken into account for future studies.

  18. Overview of the Mars Science Laboratory mission: Bradbury Landing to Yellowknife Bay and beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasavada, A. R.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Arvidson, R. E.; Calef, F. J.; Crisp, J. A.; Gupta, S.; Hurowitz, J.; Mangold, N.; Maurice, S.; Schmidt, M. E.; Wiens, R. C.; Williams, R. M. E.; Yingst, R. A.

    2014-06-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory mission reached Bradbury Landing in August 2012. In its first 500 sols, the rover Curiosity was commissioned and began its investigation of the habitability of past and present environments within Gale Crater. Curiosity traversed eastward toward Glenelg, investigating a boulder with a highly alkaline basaltic composition, encountering numerous exposures of outcropping pebble conglomerate, and sampling aeolian sediment at Rocknest and lacustrine mudstones at Yellowknife Bay. On sol 324, the mission turned its focus southwest, beginning a year-long journey to the lower reaches of Mt. Sharp, with brief stops at the Darwin and Cooperstown waypoints. The unprecedented complexity of the rover and payload systems posed challenges to science operations, as did a number of anomalies. Operational processes were revised to include additional opportunities for advance planning by the science and engineering teams.

  19. The Sample Analysis at Mars Investigation and Instrument Suite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul; Webster, Chris R.; Cabane, M.; Conrad, Pamela G.; Coll, Patrice; Atreya, Sushil K.; Arvey, Robert; Barciniak, Michael; Benna, Mehdi; Bleacher, L.; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Carignan, Daniel; Cascia, Mark; Chalmers, Robert A.; Dworkin, Jason P.; Errigo, Therese; Everson, Paula; Franz, Heather; Farley, Rodger; Feng, Steven; Frazier, Gregory; Freissinet, Caroline; Glavin, Daniel P.; Harpold, Daniel N.

    2012-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation of the Mars Science Laboratory(MSL) addresses the chemical and isotopic composition of the atmosphere and volatilesextracted from solid samples. The SAM investigation is designed to contribute substantiallyto the mission goal of quantitatively assessing the habitability of Mars as an essentialstep in the search for past or present life on Mars. SAM is a 40 kg instrument suite locatedin the interior of MSLs Curiosity rover. The SAM instruments are a quadrupole massspectrometer, a tunable laser spectrometer, and a 6-column gas chromatograph all coupledthrough solid and gas processing systems to provide complementary information on thesame samples. The SAM suite is able to measure a suite of light isotopes and to analyzevolatiles directly from the atmosphere or thermally released from solid samples. In additionto measurements of simple inorganic compounds and noble gases SAM will conducta sensitive search for organic compounds with either thermal or chemical extraction fromsieved samples delivered by the sample processing system on the Curiosity rovers roboticarm.

  20. The Sample Analysis at Mars Investigation and Instrument Suite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul R.; Webster, Christopher R.; Cabane, Michel; Conrad, Pamela G.; Coll, Patrice; Atreya, Sushil K.; Arvey, Robert; Barciniak, Michael; Benna, Mehdi; Bleacher, Lora; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Carignan, Daniel; Cascia, Mark; Chalmers, Robert A.; Dworkin, Jason P.; Errigo, Therese; Everson, Paula; Franz, Heather; Farley, Rodger; Feng, Steven; Frazier, Gregory; Freissinet, Caroline; Glavin, Daniel P.; Harpold, Daniel N.; Hawk, Douglas; Holmes, Vincent; Johnson, Christopher S.; Jones, Andrea; Jordan, Patrick; Kellogg, James; Lewis, Jesse; Lyness, Eric; Malespin, Charles A.; Martin, David K.; Maurer, John; McAdam, Amy C.; McLennan, Douglas; Nolan, Thomas J.; Noriega, Marvin; Pavlov, Alexander A.; Prats, Benito; Raaen, Eric; Sheinman, Oren; Sheppard, David; Smith, James; Stern, Jennifer C.; Tan, Florence; Trainer, Melissa; Ming, Douglas W.; Morris, Richard V.; Jones, John; Gundersen, Cindy; Steele, Andrew; Wray, James; Botta, Oliver; Leshin, Laurie A.; Owen, Tobias; Battel, Steve; Jakosky, Bruce M.; Manning, Heidi; Squyres, Steven; Navarro-González, Rafael; McKay, Christopher P.; Raulin, Francois; Sternberg, Robert; Buch, Arnaud; Sorensen, Paul; Kline-Schoder, Robert; Coscia, David; Szopa, Cyril; Teinturier, Samuel; Baffes, Curt; Feldman, Jason; Flesch, Greg; Forouhar, Siamak; Garcia, Ray; Keymeulen, Didier; Woodward, Steve; Block, Bruce P.; Arnett, Ken; Miller, Ryan; Edmonson, Charles; Gorevan, Stephen; Mumm, Erik

    2012-09-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) addresses the chemical and isotopic composition of the atmosphere and volatiles extracted from solid samples. The SAM investigation is designed to contribute substantially to the mission goal of quantitatively assessing the habitability of Mars as an essential step in the search for past or present life on Mars. SAM is a 40 kg instrument suite located in the interior of MSL's Curiosity rover. The SAM instruments are a quadrupole mass spectrometer, a tunable laser spectrometer, and a 6-column gas chromatograph all coupled through solid and gas processing systems to provide complementary information on the same samples. The SAM suite is able to measure a suite of light isotopes and to analyze volatiles directly from the atmosphere or thermally released from solid samples. In addition to measurements of simple inorganic compounds and noble gases SAM will conduct a sensitive search for organic compounds with either thermal or chemical extraction from sieved samples delivered by the sample processing system on the Curiosity rover's robotic arm.

  1. The Sample Analysis at Mars Investigation and Instrument Suite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul; Webster, Christopher R.; Conrad, Pamela G.; Arvey, Robert; Bleacher, Lora; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Chalmers, Robert A.; Dworkin, Jason P.; Errigo, Therese; Farley, Rodger; Feng, Steven; Frazier, Gregory; Glavin, Daniel P.; Harpold, Daniel N.; Jordan, Partick; Kellogg, James; Lewis, Jesse; Martin, David K.; Maurer, John; McAdam, Amy C.; McLennan, Douglas; Pavlov, Alexander A.; Raaen, Eric; Schinman, Oren

    2012-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) addresses the chemical and isotopic composition of the atmosphere and volatiles extracted from solid samples. The SAM investigation is designed to contribute substantially to the mission goal of quantitatively assessing the habitability of Mars as an essential step in the search for past or present life on Mars. SAM is a 40 kg instrument suite located in the interior of MSL's Curiosity rover. The SAM instruments are a quadrupole mass spectrometer, a tunable laser spectrometer, and a 6-column gas chromatograph all coupled through solid and gas processing systems to provide complementary information on the same samples. The SAM suite is able to measure a suite of light isotopes and to analyze volatiles directly from the atmosphere or thermally released from solid samples. In addition to measurements of simple inorganic compounds and noble gases SAM will conduct a sensitive search for organic compounds with either thermal or chemical extraction from sieved samples delivered by the sample processing system on the Curiosity rover's robotic arm,

  2. In situ analysis of Mars soil and rocks samples with the SAM experiment: laboratory measurements supporting treatment and interpretation of the detection of organics

    OpenAIRE

    2015-01-01

    International audience; The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) experiment onboard the Curiosity rover detected numerous organic compounds when analyzing the solid samples collected on the way to Mount Sharp. But MTBSTFA, the chemical reactant for the chemical treatment of the refractory molecules present in the solid samples and present in cups of SAM, was shown to be unfortunately present in the Sample Manipulation System (SMS). During the sample analysis, this chemical species reacts with the or...

  3. Field reconnaissance geologic mapping of the Columbia Hills, Mars, based on Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and MRO HiRISE observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crumpler, L.S.; Arvidson, R. E.; Squyres, S. W.; McCoy, T.; Yingst, A.; Ruff, S.; Farrand, W.; McSween, Y.; Powell, M.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R.V.; Bell, J.F.; Grant, J.; Greeley, R.; DesMarais, D.; Schmidt, M.; Cabrol, N.A.; Haldemann, A.; Lewis, K.W.; Wang, A.E.; Schroder, C.; Blaney, D.; Cohen, B.; Yen, A.; Farmer, J.; Gellert, Ralf; Guinness, E.A.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Klingelhfer, G.; McEwen, A.; Rice, J.W.; Rice, M.; deSouza, P.; Hurowitz, J.

    2011-01-01

    Chemical, mineralogic, and lithologic ground truth was acquired for the first time on Mars in terrain units mapped using orbital Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (MRO HiRISE) image data. Examination of several dozen outcrops shows that Mars is geologically complex at meter length scales, the record of its geologic history is well exposed, stratigraphic units may be identified and correlated across significant areas on the ground, and outcrops and geologic relationships between materials may be analyzed with techniques commonly employed in terrestrial field geology. Despite their burial during the course of Martian geologic time by widespread epiclastic materials, mobile fines, and fall deposits, the selective exhumation of deep and well-preserved geologic units has exposed undisturbed outcrops, stratigraphic sections, and structural information much as they are preserved and exposed on Earth. A rich geologic record awaits skilled future field investigators on Mars. The correlation of ground observations and orbital images enables construction of a corresponding geologic reconnaissance map. Most of the outcrops visited are interpreted to be pyroclastic, impactite, and epiclastic deposits overlying an unexposed substrate, probably related to a modified Gusev crater central peak. Fluids have altered chemistry and mineralogy of these protoliths in degrees that vary substantially within the same map unit. Examination of the rocks exposed above and below the major unconformity between the plains lavas and the Columbia Hills directly confirms the general conclusion from remote sensing in previous studies over past years that the early history of Mars was a time of more intense deposition and modification of the surface. Although the availability of fluids and the chemical and mineral activity declined from this early period, significant later volcanism and fluid convection enabled additional, if localized, chemical activity

  4. The Search for Ammonia in Martian Soils with Curiosity's SAM Instrument

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wray, James J.; Archer, P. D.; Brinckerhoff, W. B.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Franz, H. B.; Freissinet, C.; Glavin, D. P.; Mahaffy, P. R.; McKay, C. P.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Steele, A.; Webster, C. R.

    2013-01-01

    Nitrogen is the second or third most abundant constituent of the Martian atmosphere [1,2]. It is a bioessential element, a component of all amino acids and nucleic acids that make up proteins, DNA and RNA, so assessing its availability is a key part of Curiosity's mission to characterize Martian habitability. In oxidizing desert environments it is found in nitrate salts that co-occur with perchlorates [e.g., 3], inferred to be widespread in Mars soils [4-6]. A Mars nitrogen cycle has been proposed [7], yet prior missions have not constrained the state of surface N. Here we explore Curiosity's ability to detect N compounds using data from the rover's first solid sample. Companion abstracts describe evidence for nitrates [8] and for nitriles (C(triple bond)N) [9]; we focus here on nonnitrile, reduced-N compounds as inferred from bonded N-H. The simplest such compound is ammonia (NH3), found in many carbonaceous chondrite meteorites in NH4(+) salts and organic compounds [e.g., 10].

  5. Fluidized-sediment pipes in Gale crater, Mars, and possible Earth analogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rubin, David M.; Fairen, A.G.; Frydenvang, J.; Gasnault, O.; Gelfenbaum, Guy R.; Goetz, W.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Le Mouélic, S.; Mangold, N.; Newsom, H.; Oehler, D. Z.; Rapin, W.; Schieber, J.; Wiens, R.C.

    2017-01-01

    Since landing in Gale crater, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has traversed fluvial, lacustrine, and eolian sedimentary rocks that were deposited within the crater ∼3.6 to 3.2 b.y. ago. Here we describe structures interpreted to be pipes formed by vertical movement of fluidized sediment. Like many pipes on Earth, those in Gale crater are more resistant to erosion than the host rock; they form near other pipes, dikes, or deformed sediment; and some contain internal concentric or eccentric layering. These structures provide new evidence of the importance of subsurface aqueous processes in shaping the near-surface geology of Mars.

  6. Trace element geochemistry (Li, Ba, Sr, and Rb) using Curiosity's ChemCam: early results for Gale crater from Bradbury Landing Site to Rocknest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ollila, Ann M.; Newsom, Horton E.; Clark, Benton; Wiens, Roger C.; Cousin, Agnes; Blank, Jen G.; Mangold, Nicolas; Sautter, Violaine; Maurice, Sylvestre; Clegg, Samuel M.; Gasnault, Olivier; Forni, Olivier; Tokar, Robert; Lewin, Eric; Dyar, M. Darby; Lasue, Jeremie; Anderson, Ryan; McLennan, Scott M.; Bridges, John; Vaniman, Dave; Lanza, Nina; Fabre, Cecile; Melikechi, Noureddine; Perett, Glynis M.; Campbell, John L.; King, Penelope L.; Barraclough, Bruce; Delapp, Dorothea; Johnstone, Stephen; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Rosen-Gooding, Anya; Williams, Josh

    2013-01-01

    The ChemCam instrument package on the Mars rover, Curiosity, provides new capabilities to probe the abundances of certain trace elements in the rocks and soils on Mars using the laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy technique. We focus on detecting and quantifying Li, Ba, Rb, and Sr in targets analyzed during the first 100 sols, from Bradbury Landing Site to Rocknest. Univariate peak area models and multivariate partial least squares models are presented. Li, detected for the first time directly on Mars, is generally low (100 ppm and >1000 ppm, respectively. These analysis locations tend to have high Si and alkali abundances, consistent with a feldspar composition. Together, these trace element observations provide possible evidence of magma differentiation and aqueous alteration.

  7. Trace element geochemistry (Li, Ba, Sr, and Rb) using Curiosity's ChemCam: Early results for Gale crater from Bradbury Landing Site to Rocknest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ollila, Ann M.; Newsom, Horton E.; Clark, Benton; Wiens, Roger C.; Cousin, Agnes; Blank, Jen G.; Mangold, Nicolas; Sautter, Violaine; Maurice, Sylvestre; Clegg, Samuel M.; Gasnault, Olivier; Forni, Olivier; Tokar, Robert; Lewin, Eric; Dyar, M. Darby; Lasue, Jeremie; Anderson, Ryan; McLennan, Scott M.; Bridges, John; Vaniman, Dave; Lanza, Nina; Fabre, Cecile; Melikechi, Noureddine; Perrett, Glynis M.; Campbell, John L.; King, Penelope L.; Barraclough, Bruce; Delapp, Dorothea; Johnstone, Stephen; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Rosen-Gooding, Anya; Williams, Josh

    2014-01-01

    ChemCam instrument package on the Mars rover, Curiosity, provides new capabilities to probe the abundances of certain trace elements in the rocks and soils on Mars using the laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy technique. We focus on detecting and quantifying Li, Ba, Rb, and Sr in targets analyzed during the first 100 sols, from Bradbury Landing Site to Rocknest. Univariate peak area models and multivariate partial least squares models are presented. Li, detected for the first time directly on Mars, is generally low (100 ppm and >1000 ppm, respectively. These analysis locations tend to have high Si and alkali abundances, consistent with a feldspar composition. Together, these trace element observations provide possible evidence of magma differentiation and aqueous alteration.

  8. Trace element geochemistry (Li, Ba, Sr, and Rb) using Curiosity's ChemCam: early results for Gale crater from Bradbury Landing Site to Rocknest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ollila, Ann M.; Newsom, Horton E.; Clark, Benton; Wiens, Roger C.; Cousin, Agnes; Blank, Jen G.; Mangold, Nicolas; Sautter, Violaine; Maurice, Sylvestre; Clegg, Samuel M.; Gasnault, Olivier; Forni, Olivier; Tokar, Robert; Lewin, Eric; Dyar, M. Darby; Lasue, Jeremie; Anderson, Ryan; McLennan, Scott M.; Bridges, John; Vaniman, Dave; Lanza, Nina; Fabre, Cecile; Melikechi, Noureddine; Perett, Glynis M.; Campbell, John L.; King, Penelope L.; Barraclough, Bruce; Delapp, Dorothea; Johnstone, Stephen; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Rosen-Gooding, Anya; Williams, Josh

    2014-01-01

    The ChemCam instrument package on the Mars rover, Curiosity, provides new capabilities to probe the abundances of certain trace elements in the rocks and soils on Mars using the laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy technique. We focus on detecting and quantifying Li, Ba, Rb, and Sr in targets analyzed during the first 100 sols, from Bradbury Landing Site to Rocknest. Univariate peak area models and multivariate partial least squares models are presented. Li, detected for the first time directly on Mars, is generally low (100 ppm and >1000 ppm, respectively. These analysis locations tend to have high Si and alkali abundances, consistent with a feldspar composition. Together, these trace element observations provide possible evidence of magma differentiation and aqueous alteration.

  9. Large wind ripples on Mars: A record of atmospheric evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapotre, M G A; Ewing, R C; Lamb, M P; Fischer, W W; Grotzinger, J P; Rubin, D M; Lewis, K W; Ballard, M J; Day, M; Gupta, S; Banham, S G; Bridges, N T; Des Marais, D J; Fraeman, A A; Grant, J A; Herkenhoff, K E; Ming, D W; Mischna, M A; Rice, M S; Sumner, D A; Vasavada, A R; Yingst, R A

    2016-07-01

    Wind blowing over sand on Earth produces decimeter-wavelength ripples and hundred-meter- to kilometer-wavelength dunes: bedforms of two distinct size modes. Observations from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal that Mars hosts a third stable wind-driven bedform, with meter-scale wavelengths. These bedforms are spatially uniform in size and typically have asymmetric profiles with angle-of-repose lee slopes and sinuous crest lines, making them unlike terrestrial wind ripples. Rather, these structures resemble fluid-drag ripples, which on Earth include water-worked current ripples, but on Mars instead form by wind because of the higher kinematic viscosity of the low-density atmosphere. A reevaluation of the wind-deposited strata in the Burns formation (about 3.7 billion years old or younger) identifies potential wind-drag ripple stratification formed under a thin atmosphere.

  10. Large wind ripples on Mars: A record of atmospheric evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapotre, M. G. A.; Ewing, R. C.; Lamb, M. P.; Fischer, W. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Rubin, D. M.; Lewis, K. W.; Ballard, M. J.; Day, M.; Gupta, S.; Banham, S. G.; Bridges, N. T.; Des Marais, D. J.; Fraeman, A. A.; Grant, J. A.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Ming, D. W.; Mischna, M. A.; Rice, M. S.; Sumner, D. A.; Vasavada, A. R.; Yingst, R. A.

    2016-07-01

    Wind blowing over sand on Earth produces decimeter-wavelength ripples and hundred-meter- to kilometer-wavelength dunes: bedforms of two distinct size modes. Observations from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal that Mars hosts a third stable wind-driven bedform, with meter-scale wavelengths. These bedforms are spatially uniform in size and typically have asymmetric profiles with angle-of-repose lee slopes and sinuous crest lines, making them unlike terrestrial wind ripples. Rather, these structures resemble fluid-drag ripples, which on Earth include water-worked current ripples, but on Mars instead form by wind because of the higher kinematic viscosity of the low-density atmosphere. A reevaluation of the wind-deposited strata in the Burns formation (about 3.7 billion years old or younger) identifies potential wind-drag ripple stratification formed under a thin atmosphere.

  11. The local subsurface water and chlorine distributions evaluated by DAN/MSL in Curiosity observational campaigns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Litvak, Maxim; Mitrofanov, Igor; Hardgrove, Craig; Sanin, Anton; Lisov, Denis; Golovin, Dmitry; Jun, Insoo; Kozyrev, Alexander; Malakhov, Alexey; Mischna, Michael; Moersch, Jeffrey; Nikiforov, Sergey; Tate, Cristopher; Vostrukhin, Andrey

    2016-04-01

    The measurements with the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover are presented and analyzed as a summary of observations acquired during several special observational campaigns at the Yellowknife Bay area (first discovery of habitability environment), at the striated units of Kimberley formation, at outcrops studied in Pahrump Hills (at the base of Mt Sharp) and in high silica area discovered in Marias Pass (Mudstone facies of the Murray formation). DAN data were analyzed to test local and global variability in the distribution of bulk hydrogen and neutron-absorbing elements, characterized as chlorine-equivalent concentration. Using multi instrument approach in the data analysis we have compared DAN estimations of subsurface H and Cl distributions with inhomogeneity of local geological context, top surface measurements of chlorine with APXS and with SAM measurements of absorbed H2O extracted from the drilled samples based on low temperature evolved gas analysis.

  12. Mineralogical Changes in a Predominantly Fluviolacustrine Succession at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rampe, E. B.; Ming, D. W.; Grotzinger. J. P.; Bristow, T. F.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Chipera, S. J.; Gellert, R.; Morris, R. V.; Morrison, S. M.

    2017-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater in August 2012 to investigate the strata of lower Aeolis Mons (i.e., Mount Sharp) and characterize their depositional and diagenetic environments. Visible/short-wave infrared spectra from orbit of these strata show variations in phyllosilicate, sulfate, and Fe-oxide minerals, suggesting these units record environmental changes that occurred during the early Hesperian. Curiosity has traversed over 15 km and has climbed through Approx. 200 m of stratigraphic section, made up of predominantly fluviolacustrine (i.e., the Bradbury group and the Murray formation) and aeolian (i.e., the Stimson formation) units. Multiple geochemical and mineralogical instruments are onboard Curiosity to study these ancient rocks, including the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument, which is an X-ray diffractometer (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, and the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).

  13. Early Evolved Gas Results from the Curiosity Rover’s SAM Investigation at Gale Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul R.; Franz, H.; McAdam, A.; Brunner, A.; Eigenbrode, J.; Stern, J.; SAM Science Team; MSL Science Team

    2013-10-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Mission is designed to explore the habitability of the selected landing site at Gale crater. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite contributes to this study with a search for organic compounds, an analysis of the composition of inorganic volatiles, and measurements of the isotopic composition light elements. Both atmospheric and solid samples are analyzed. The layers in the central mound (Mt. Sharp) of Gale crater are important targets for the MSL mission. However, in situ measurements made during the past year of interesting regions close to the Bradbury landing site have revealed a diverse geology and several primary mission objectives have already been realized. SAM is located in the interior of the Curiosity rover. The MSL cameras, a laser induced breakdown spectrometer, and elemental analysis instrumentation serves to locate sampling sites and interogate candidate materials before solid sample is collected either with a drill or a scoop for delivery to SAM and the XRD instrument CheMin. SAM integrates a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS), and a 6-column gas chromatograph (GC) with a solid sample transport system and a gas processing and enrichment system. Results of SAM atmospheric composition analyses have already been reported (1,2). To date, multiple SAM evolved gas experiments have examined samples from fines scooped from an aeolian drift and from two drilled samples of a mudstone. Major evolved gases are H2O, CO2, O2, SO2, H2S, H2, and a number of minor species. These data help confirm the likely presence of perchlorates, the presence of phylosillicates, and both reduced and oxidized compounds evolved from the same sample. 1) P.R. Mahaffy et al., Abundance and Isotopic Composition of Gases in the Martian Atmosphere from the Curiosity Rover, Science 343, (2013). 2) C.R. Webster et al., Isotope Ratios of H, C and O in Martian Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Water Measured by the

  14. Regularization of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CRISM along-track oversampled hyperspectral imaging observations of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kreisch, C. D.; O'Sullivan, J. A.; Arvidson, R. E.; Politte, D. V.; He, L.; Stein, N. T.; Finkel, J.; Guinness, E. A.; Wolff, M. J.; Lapôtre, M. G. A.

    2017-01-01

    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) hyperspectral image data have been acquired in an along-track oversampled (ATO) mode with the intent of processing the data to better than the nominal ∼18 m/pixel ground resolution. We have implemented an iterative maximum log-likelihood method (MLM) that utilizes the instrument spectral and spatial transfer functions and includes a penalty function to regularize the data. Products are produced both in sensor space and as projected hyperspectral image cubes at 12 m/pixel. Preprocessing steps include retrieval of surface single scattering albedos (SSA) using the Hapke Function and DISORT-based radiative modeling of atmospheric gases and aerosols. Resultant SSA cubes are despiked to remove extrema and tested to ensure that the remaining data are Poisson-distributed, an underlying assumption for the MLM algorithm implementation. Two examples of processed ATO data sets are presented. ATO0002EC79 covers the route taken by the Curiosity rover during its initial ascent of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater. SSA data are used to model mineral abundances and grain sizes predicted to be present in the Namib barchan sand dune sampled and analyzed by Curiosity. CRISM based results compare favorably to in situ results derived from Curiosity's measurement campaign. ATO0002DDF9 covers Marathon Valley on the Cape Tribulation rim segment of Endeavour Crater. SSA spectra indicate the presence of a minor component of Fe3+ and Mg2+ smectites on the valley floor and walls. Localization to 12 m/pixel provided the detailed spatial information needed for the Opportunity rover to traverse to and characterize those outcrops that have the deepest absorptions. The combination of orbital and rover-based data show that the smectite-bearing outcrops in Marathon Valley are impact breccias that are basaltic in composition and that have been isochemically altered in a low water to rock environment.

  15. An Ldrims Instrument for Portable Rb-Sr Dating with Accuracy of Better than ±150 MA for the MARS-2020 Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, F. Scott; Whitaker, Tom; Hamilton, Victoria; Nowicki, Keith

    2013-04-01

    Using a laser desorption resonance ionization mass spectrometer (LDRIMS), we can now demonstrate repeatable dates with portable hardware that could be carried on MER- or MSL-sized rovers. This is important because NASA is developing science requirements for a Mars 2020 rover mission based on MSL hardware, and for Mars, the National Research Council Decadal Survey (NRC DS) specifically supports: "...long-term development of instruments ... focusing on the most important future in situ measurements... [including] ... in situ geochronology experiments". The LDRIMS instrument can produce these science measurements today, and in so doing, triage samples for Mars Sample Return. The LDRIMS technique can be miniaturized and avoids the mass interference issues requiring unwieldy chemical separation for traditional geochronology techniques. With LDRIMS sample is placed in a time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer and surface atoms, molecules, and ions are desorbed with a 213 nm laser. Ions are suppressed by an electric field and the plume of expanding particles is present for many μs, during which it is first illuminated with laser light tuned to ionize only Sr, and then 1-3 μs later, for Rb. This eliminates isobars for Rb and Sr, insures that the measured atoms come from the same ablation event, and hence target materials, and reduces the total number of measurements required. The LDRIMS system has demonstrated a sensitivity of 300 parts-per-trillion, and isotope ratio precisions of ±0.3 to ±0.1% in 3000-5000 ablations of one spot on a sample in 3-5 minutes. The bench top prototype has been tested on the Boulder Creek Granite (BCG) from Elephant Butte, Colorado, comprised primarily of a gneissic quartz monzonite and granodiorite. Whole rock Rb-Sr TIMS measurements of the BCG, and our own preliminary micro-drill TIMS measurements of individual minerals, are consistent with an age of 1700±40 Ma. To obtain a LDRIMS date using the BCG sample, we measured hundreds of spots

  16. Wind-driven particle mobility on Mars: Insights from Mars Exploration Rover observations at "El Dorado" and surroundings at Gusev Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sullivan, R.; Arvidson, R.; Bell, J.F.; Gellert, Ralf; Golombek, M.; Greeley, R.; Herkenhoff, K.; Johnson, J.; Thompson, S.; Whelley, P.; Wray, J.

    2008-01-01

    The ripple field known as 'El Dorado' was a unique stop on Spirit's traverse where dust-raising, active mafic sand ripples and larger inactive coarse-grained ripples interact, illuminating several long-standing issues of Martian dust mobility, sand mobility, and the origin of transverse aeolian ridges. Strong regional wind events endured by Spirit caused perceptible migration of ripple crests in deposits SSE of El Dorado, erasure of tracks in sandy areas, and changes to dust mantling the site. Localized thermal vortices swept across El Dorado, leaving paths of reduced dust but without perceptibly damaging nearly cohesionless sandy ripple crests. From orbit, winds responsible for frequently raising clay-sized dust into the atmosphere do not seem to significantly affect dunes composed of (more easily entrained) sand-sized particles, a long-standing paradox. This disparity between dust mobilization and sand mobilization on Mars is due largely to two factors: (1) dust occurs on the surface as fragile, low-density, sand-sized aggregates that are easily entrained and disrupted, compared with clay-sized air fall particles; and (2) induration of regolith is pervasive. Light-toned bed forms investigated at Gusev are coarse-grained ripples, an interpretation we propose for many of the smallest linear, light-toned bed forms of uncertain origin seen in high-resolution orbital images across Mars. On Earth, wind can organize bimodal or poorly sorted loose sediment into coarse-grained ripples. Coarse-grained ripples could be relatively common on Mars because development of durable, well-sorted sediments analogous to terrestrial aeolian quartz sand deposits is restricted by the lack of free quartz and limited hydraulic sediment processing. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

  17. Evidence for the distribution of perchlorates on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Benton C.; Kounaves, Samuel P.

    2016-10-01

    Various Mars missions have detected Cl atoms, chlorides and perchlorates in martian surface materials. The global soils, in particular, always contain significant levels of observable Cl. Direct evidence points to this Cl being in the form of both chlorides and perchlorates, and possibly also chlorates and other oxychlorines. The most widespread measurements have been of Cl atoms, and cannot discern the chemical form. However, from separate evidence of perchlorate obtained at high latitudes (Phoenix lander) and low latitudes (Curiosity rover), it is likely that perchlorates are widespread, albeit in varying proportions relative to the total amount of ubiquitous Cl.

  18. Curiosity's Autonomous Surface Safing Behavior Design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neilson, Tracy A.; Manning, Robert M.

    2013-01-01

    The safing routines on all robotic deep-space vehicles are designed to put the vehicle in a power and thermally safe configuration, enabling communication with the mission operators on Earth. Achieving this goal is made a little more difficult on Curiosity because the power requirements for the core avionics and the telecommunication equipment exceed the capability of the single power source, the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator. This drove the system design to create an operational mode, called "sleep mode", where the vehicle turns off most of the loads in order to charge the two Li-ion batteries. The system must keep the vehicle safe from over-heat and under-heat conditions, battery cell failures, under-voltage conditions, and clock failures, both while the computer is running and while the system is sleeping. The other goal of a safing routine is to communicate. On most spacecraft, this simply involves turning on the receiver and transmitter continuously. For Curiosity, Earth is above the horizon only a part of the day for direct communication to the Earth, and the orbiter overpass opportunities only occur a few times a day. The design must robustly place the Rover in a communicable condition at the correct time. This paper discusses Curiosity's autonomous safing behavior and describes how the vehicle remains power and thermally safe while sleeping, as well as a description of how the Rover communicates with the orbiters and Earth at specific times.

  19. Robotic Arm of Rover 1

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-01-01

    JPL engineers examine the robotic arm of Mars Exploration Rover 1. The arm is modeled after a human arm, complete with joints, and holds four devices on its end, the Rock Abrasion Tool which can grind into Martian rocks, a microscopic imager, and two spectrometers for elemental and iron-mineral identification.

  20. Nature and origin of the hematite-bearing plains of Terra Meridiani based on analyses of orbital and Mars Exploration rover data sets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvidson, R. E.; Poulet, F.; Morris, R.V.; Bibring, J.-P.; Bell, J.F.; Squyres, S. W.; Christensen, P.R.; Bellucci, G.; Gondet, B.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Farrand, W. H.; Fergason, R.L.; Golombeck, M.; Griffes, J.L.; Grotzinger, J.; Guinness, E.A.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Klingelhofer, G.; Langevin, Y.; Ming, D.; Seelos, K.; Sullivan, R.J.; Ward, J.G.; Wiseman, S.M.; Wolff, M.J.

    2006-01-01

    The ???5 km of traverses and observations completed by the Opportunity rover from Endurance crater to the Fruitbasket outcrop show that the Meridiani plains consist of sulfate-rich sedimentary rocks that are largely covered by poorly-sorted basaltic aeolian sands and a lag of granule-sized hematitic concretions. Orbital reflectance spectra obtained by Mars Express OMEGA over this region are dominated by pyroxene, plagioclase feldspar, crystalline hematite (i.e., concretions), and nano-phase iron oxide dust signatures, consistent with Pancam and Mini-TES observations. Mo??ssbauer Spectrometer observations indicate more olivine than observed with the other instruments, consistent with preferential optical obscuration of olivine features in mixtures with pyroxene and dust. Orbital data covering bright plains located several kilometers to the south of the landing site expose a smaller areal abundance of hematite, more dust, and a larger areal extent of outcrop compared to plains proximal to the landing site. Low-albedo, low-thermal-inertia, windswept plains located several hundred kilometers to the south of the landing site are predicted from OMEGA data to have more hematite and fine-grained olivine grains exposed as compared to the landing site. Low calcium pyroxene dominates spectral signatures from the cratered highlands to the south of Opportunity. A regional-scale model is presented for the formation of the plains explored by Opportunity, based on a rising ground water table late in the Noachian Era that trapped and altered local materials and aeolian basaltic sands. Cessation of this aqueous process led to dominance of aeolian processes and formation of the current configuration of the plains. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

  1. Light-toned salty soils and co-existing Si-rich species discovered by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit in Columbia Hills

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Alian; Bell, J.F.; Li, Ron; Johnson, J. R.; Farrand, W. H.; Cloutis, E.A.; Arvidson, R. E.; Crumpler, L.; Squyres, S. W.; McLennan, S.M.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Ruff, S.W.; Knudson, A.T.; Chen, Wei; Greenberger, R.

    2008-01-01

    Light-toned soils were exposed, through serendipitous excavations by Spirit Rover wheels, at eight locations in the Columbia Hills. Their occurrences were grouped into four types on the basis of geomorphic settings. At three major exposures, the light-toned soils are hydrous and sulfate-rich. The spatial distributions of distinct types of salty soils vary substantially: with centimeter-scaled heterogeneities at Paso Robles, Dead Sea, Shredded, and Champagne-Penny, a well-mixed nature for light-toned soils occurring near and at the summit of Husband Hill, and relatively homogeneous distributions in the two layers at the Tyrone site. Aeolian, fumarolic, and hydrothermal fluid processes are suggested to be responsible for the deposition, transportation, and accumulation of these light-toned soils. In addition, a change in Pancam spectra of Tyrone yellowish soils was observed after being exposed to current Martian surface conditions for 175 sols. This change is interpreted to be caused by the dehydration of ferric sulfates on the basis of laboratory simulations and suggests a relative humidity gradient beneath the surface. Si-rich nodules and soils were observed near the major exposures of S-rich soils. They possess a characteristic feature in Pancam visible near-infrared (Vis-NIR) spectra that may be diagnostic of hydrated species, and this spectral feature can be used to search for additional Si-rich species. The exposures of hydrated salty soils within various geomorphic settings imply the potential existence of hydrous minerals in similar settings over a much wider area. Hydrous sulfates represent one of the candidates that may contribute the high level of water equivalent hydrogen in equatorial regions detected by the Neutron Spectrometer on Mars Odyssey.

  2. The effects of weathering on the strength and chemistry of Columbia River Basalts and their implications for Mars Exploration Rover Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomson, B. J.; Hurowitz, J. A.; Baker, L. L.; Bridges, N. T.; Lennon, A. M.; Paulsen, G.; Zacny, K.

    2014-08-01

    Basalt physical properties such as compressive strength and density are directly linked to their chemistry and constitution; as weathering progresses, basalts gradually become weaker and transition from intact rock to saprolite and ultimately, to soil. Here we quantify the degree of weathering experienced by the Adirondack-class basalts at the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit site by performing comparative analyses on the strength and chemistry of a series of progressively weathered Columbia River Basalt (CRB) from western Idaho and eastern Washington. CRB samples were subjected to compressive strength tests, Rock Abrasion Tool grinds, neutron activation analysis, and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy. Analyses of terrestrial basalts indicate linked strength-chemical changes, as expected. Weathering sufficient to induce the loss of more than 50% of some cations (including >50% of MgO and MnO as well as ∼38% of Fe2O3 and 34% of CaO) was observed to weaken these samples by as much as 50% of their original strength. In comparison with the terrestrial samples, Adirondack-class basalts are most similar to the weakest basalt samples measured in terms of compressive strength, yet they do not exhibit a commensurate amount of chemical alteration. Since fluvial and lacustrine activity in Gusev crater appears to have been limited after the emplacement of flood basalt lavas, the observed weakness is likely attributable to thin-film weathering on exposed, displaced rocks in the Gusev plains (in addition to some likely shock effects). The results indicate that Adirondack-class basalts may possess a several mm-thick weak outer rind encasing an interior that is more pristine than otherwise indicated, and also suggest that long rock residence times may be the norm.

  3. Spirit Mars Rover Mission: Overview and selected results from the northern Home Plate Winter Haven to the side of Scamander crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J. F.; Bellutta, P.; Cabrol, N. A.; Catalano, J. G.; Cohen, J.; Crumpler, L. S.; Des Marais, D. J.; Estlin, T. A.; Farrand, W. H.; Gellert, R.; Grant, J. A.; Greenberger, R. N.; Guinness, E. A.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Herman, J. A.; Iagnemma, K. D.; Johnson, J. R.; Klingelhöfer, G.; Li, R.; Lichtenberg, K. A.; Maxwell, S. A.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Rice, M. S.; Ruff, S. W.; Shaw, A.; Siebach, K. L.; de Souza, P. A.; Stroupe, A. W.; Squyres, S. W.; Sullivan, R. J.; Talley, K. P.; Townsend, J. A.; Wang, A.; Wright, J. R.; Yen, A. S.

    2010-09-01

    This paper summarizes Spirit Rover operations in the Columbia Hills, Gusev crater, from sol 1410 (start of the third winter campaign) to sol 2169 (when extrication attempts from Troy stopped to winterize the vehicle) and provides an overview of key scientific results. The third winter campaign took advantage of parking on the northern slope of Home Plate to tilt the vehicle to track the sun and thus survive the winter season. With the onset of the spring season, Spirit began circumnavigating Home Plate on the way to volcanic constructs located to the south. Silica-rich nodular rocks were discovered in the valley to the north of Home Plate. The inoperative right front wheel drive actuator made climbing soil-covered slopes problematical and led to high slip conditions and extensive excavation of subsurface soils. This situation led to embedding of Spirit on the side of a shallow, 8 m wide crater in Troy, located in the valley to the west of Home Plate. Examination of the materials exposed during embedding showed that Spirit broke through a thin sulfate-rich soil crust and became embedded in an underlying mix of sulfate and basaltic sands. The nature of the crust is consistent with dissolution and precipitation in the presence of soil water within a few centimeters of the surface. The observation that sulfate-rich deposits in Troy and elsewhere in the Columbia Hills are just beneath the surface implies that these processes have operated on a continuing basis on Mars as landforms have been shaped by erosion and deposition.

  4. Planetary rovers robotic exploration of the solar system

    CERN Document Server

    Ellery, Alex

    2016-01-01

    The increasing adoption of terrain mobility – planetary rovers – for the investigation of planetary surfaces emphasises their central importance in space exploration. This imposes a completely new set of technologies and methodologies to the design of such spacecraft – and planetary rovers are indeed, first and foremost, spacecraft. This introduces vehicle engineering, mechatronics, robotics, artificial intelligence and associated technologies to the spacecraft engineer’s repertoire of skills. Planetary Rovers is the only book that comprehensively covers these aspects of planetary rover engineering and more. The book: • discusses relevant planetary environments to rover missions, stressing the Moon and Mars; • includes a brief survey of previous rover missions; • covers rover mobility, traction and control systems; • stresses the importance of robotic vision in rovers for both navigation and science; • comprehensively covers autonomous navigation, path planning and multi-rover formations on ...

  5. THE HABIT OF CURIOSITY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    CARLA CESARE

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Curiosity is commonly referred to as a way of being, or an object of curiosity. How curiosity is part of our daily lives, how we engage with curiosity intellectually has a long and interesting history. Since the sixteenth century it has been manifest in cabinets of curiosity, museums and curio cabinets; exercises in collecting, self-reflection and discovery. However, the end of the twentieth-century has altered our sense of the world, through the speed and accessibility of information leaving a changed relationship with wonder. This paper discusses the role of curiosity in research as a “habit of curiosity”, (Benedict 2001, 2 a method for discovery. It reviews its historical manifestations and concerns, locating it through objects and actions, and questions what new meanings the twenty-first century brings with it. Is curiosity at risk? Is it still risky? The relationship between the individual and their interior and exterior socio-cultural landscape continually creates new meanings for knowledge and how we achieve it. This shadowy landscape of our curiosity has not lost meaning intellectually, but it in our shrinking, globalized world how we engage with it requires a new investigation.

  6. Curiosity and Comprehension

    Science.gov (United States)

    Butler, John H. Montagu

    2012-01-01

    Most people have an innate curiosity about things and ideas, people and events. When they read stories, especially those concerning crime, love, or adventure, they not only want to find out what is happening or has happened, but they generally make some kind of guess as to what is likely to happen next. Where there is no such curiosity on the part…

  7. The Case for Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engel, Susan

    2013-01-01

    When the author and her colleague asked teachers to list which qualities were most important without giving them a list to choose from, almost none mentioned curiosity. Many teachers endorse curiosity when they are asked about it, but it is not uppermost on their minds--or shaping their teaching plans. Why is this disturbing? Because research…

  8. Fluids during diagenesis and sulfate vein formation in sediments at Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwenzer, S. P.; Bridges, J. C.; Wiens, R. C.; Conrad, P. G.; Kelley, S. P.; Leveille, R.; Mangold, N.; Martín-Torres, J.; McAdam, A.; Newsom, H.; Zorzano, M. P.; Rapin, W.; Spray, J.; Treiman, A. H.; Westall, F.; FairéN, A. G.; Meslin, P.-Y.

    2016-07-01

    We model the fluids involved in the alteration processes recorded in the Sheepbed Member mudstones of Yellowknife Bay (YKB), Gale crater, Mars, as revealed by the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover investigations. We compare the Gale crater waters with fluids modeled for shergottites, nakhlites, and the ancient meteorite ALH 84001, as well as rocks analyzed by the Mars Exploration rovers, and with terrestrial ground and surface waters. The aqueous solution present during sediment alteration associated with phyllosilicate formation at Gale was high in Na, K, and Si; had low Mg, Fe, and Al concentrations—relative to terrestrial groundwaters such as the Deccan Traps and other modeled Mars fluids; and had near neutral to alkaline pH. Ca and S species were present in the 10-3 to 10-2 concentration range. A fluid local to Gale crater strata produced the alteration products observed by Curiosity and subsequent evaporation of this groundwater-type fluid formed impure sulfate- and silica-rich deposits—veins or horizons. In a second, separate stage of alteration, partial dissolution of this sulfate-rich layer in Yellowknife Bay, or beyond, led to the pure sulfate veins observed in YKB. This scenario is analogous to similar processes identified at a terrestrial site in Triassic sediments with gypsum veins of the Mercia Mudstone Group in Watchet Bay, UK.

  9. Fluids during diagenesis and sulfate vein formation in sediments at Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwenzer, S. P.; Bridges, J. C.; Wiens, R. C.; Conrad, P. G.; Kelley, S. P.; Leveille, R.; Mangold, N.; Martín-Torres, J.; McAdam, A.; Newsom, H.; Zorzano, M. P.; Rapin, W.; Spray, J.; Treiman, A. H.; Westall, F.; Fairén, A. G.; Meslin, P.-Y.

    2016-11-01

    We model the fluids involved in the alteration processes recorded in the Sheepbed Member mudstones of Yellowknife Bay (YKB), Gale crater, Mars, as revealed by the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover investigations. We compare the Gale crater waters with fluids modeled for shergottites, nakhlites, and the ancient meteorite ALH 84001, as well as rocks analyzed by the Mars Exploration rovers, and with terrestrial ground and surface waters. The aqueous solution present during sediment alteration associated with phyllosilicate formation at Gale was high in Na, K, and Si; had low Mg, Fe, and Al concentrations—relative to terrestrial groundwaters such as the Deccan Traps and other modeled Mars fluids; and had near neutral to alkaline pH. Ca and S species were present in the 10-3 to 10-2 concentration range. A fluid local to Gale crater strata produced the alteration products observed by Curiosity and subsequent evaporation of this groundwater-type fluid formed impure sulfate- and silica-rich deposits—veins or horizons. In a second, separate stage of alteration, partial dissolution of this sulfate-rich layer in Yellowknife Bay, or beyond, led to the pure sulfate veins observed in YKB. This scenario is analogous to similar processes identified at a terrestrial site in Triassic sediments with gypsum veins of the Mercia Mudstone Group in Watchet Bay, UK.

  10. Ongoing Mars Missions: Extended Mission Plans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zurek, Richard; Diniega, Serina; Crisp, Joy; Fraeman, Abigail; Golombek, Matt; Jakosky, Bruce; Plaut, Jeff; Senske, David A.; Tamppari, Leslie; Thompson, Thomas W.; Vasavada, Ashwin R.

    2016-10-01

    Many key scientific discoveries in planetary science have been made during extended missions. This is certainly true for the Mars missions both in orbit and on the planet's surface. Every two years, ongoing NASA planetary missions propose investigations for the next two years. This year, as part of the 2016 Planetary Sciences Division (PSD) Mission Senior Review, the Mars Odyssey (ODY) orbiter project submitted a proposal for its 7th extended mission, the Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B) Opportunity submitted for its 10th, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) for its 4th, and the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover and the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MVN) orbiter for their 2nd extended missions, respectively. Continued US participation in the ongoing Mars Express Mission (MEX) was also proposed. These missions arrived at Mars in 2001, 2004, 2006, 2012, 2014, and 2003, respectively. Highlights of proposed activities include systematic observations of the surface and atmosphere in twilight (early morning and late evening), building on a 13-year record of global mapping (ODY); exploration of a crater rim gully and interior of Endeavour Crater, while continuing to test what can and cannot be seen from orbit (MER-B); refocused observations of ancient aqueous deposits and polar cap interiors, while adding a 6th Mars year of change detection in the atmosphere and the surface (MRO); exploration and sampling by a rover of mineralogically diverse strata of Mt. Sharp and of atmospheric methane in Gale Crater (MSL); and further characterization of atmospheric escape under different solar conditions (MVN). As proposed, these activities follow up on previous discoveries (e.g., recurring slope lineae, habitable environments), while expanding spatial and temporal coverage to guide new detailed observations. An independent review panel evaluated these proposals, met with project representatives in May, and made recommendations to NASA in June 2016. In this

  11. Abundance retrieval of hydrous minerals around the Mars Science Laboratory landing site in Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Honglei; Zhang, Xia; Shuai, Tong; Zhang, Lifu; Sun, Yanli

    2016-02-01

    The detection of hydrous minerals on Mars is of great importance for revealing the early water environment as well as possible biotic activity. However, few studies focus on abundance retrieval of hydrous minerals for some difficulties. In this paper, we studied the area around the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) landing site, to identify hydrous minerals and retrieve their abundance. Firstly, the distribution of hydrous minerals was extracted using their hydration features. Then, a sparse unmixing algorithm was applied along with the CRISM spectral library to retrieve the abundance of hydrous minerals in this area. As a result, seven hydrous minerals were retrieved, i.e. actinolite, montmorillonite, saponite, jarosite, halloysite, szomolnokite and magnesite and, the total concentration of all hydrous minerals was as high as 40 vol% near the lower reaches of Mount Sharp. Our results were consistent with results from related research and the in-situ analysis of the MSL rover Curiosity.

  12. Variations of dose rate observed by MSL/RAD in transit to Mars

    CERN Document Server

    Guo, Jingnan; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert F; Hassler, Donald M; Posner, Arik; Heber, Bernd; Köhler, Jan; Rafkin, Scot; Ehresmann, Bent; Appel, Jan K; Böhm, Eckart; Böttcher, Stephan; Burmeister, Sönke; Brinza, David E; Lohf, Henning; Martin, Cesar; Reitz, Günther

    2015-01-01

    Aims: To predict the cruise radiation environment related to future human missions to Mars, the correlation between solar modulation potential and the dose rate measured by the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) has been analyzed and empirical models have been employed to quantify this correlation. Methods: The instrument RAD, onboard Mars Science Laboratory's (MSL) rover Curiosity, measures a broad spectrum of energetic particles along with the radiation dose rate during the 253-day cruise phase as well as on the surface of Mars. With these first ever measurements inside a spacecraft from Earth to Mars, RAD observed the impulsive enhancement of dose rate during solar particle events as well as a gradual evolution of the galactic cosmic ray (GCR) induced radiation dose rate due to the modulation of the primary GCR flux by the solar magnetic field, which correlates with long-term solar activities and heliospheric rotation. Results: We analyzed the dependence of the dose rate measured by RAD on solar modulatio...

  13. The Nitrate/Perchlorate Ratio on Mars as an Indicator for Habitability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, J. C.; Sutter, B.; McKay, C. P.; Navarro-Gonzalex, R.; Freissinet, C.; Conrad, P. G.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Archer, P. D., Jr.; Ming, D. W.; Niles, P. B.; Zorzano, M.-P.; Martin-Torres, F. J.

    2015-01-01

    Discovery of indigenous martian nitrogen in Mars surface materials has important implications for habitability and the potential development of a nitrogen cycle at some point in martian history. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover detected evolved nitric oxide (NO) gas during pyrolysis of scooped aeolian sediments and drilled mudstone acquired in Gale Crater. The detection of NO suggests an indigenous source of fixed N, and may indicate a mineralogical sink for atmospheric N2 in the form of nitrate. The ratio of nitrate to oxychlorine species (e.g. perchlorate) may provide insight into the extent of development of a nitrogen cycle on Mars.

  14. The Curiosity in Marketing Thinking

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Mark E.; McGinnis, John

    2007-01-01

    This article identifies the curiosity in marketing thinking and offers ways to teach for marketing thinking through an environment that fosters students' curiosity. The significance of curiosity in its relationship with thinking is that when curiosity is absent, so is thinking. Challenges are discussed in recognizing the fragility of curiosity…

  15. Indigenous Fixed Nitrogen on Mars: Implications for Habitability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, J. C.; Sutter, B.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; McKay, C. P.; Freissinet, C.; Archer, D., Jr.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Conrad, P. G.

    2015-12-01

    Nitrate has been detected in Mars surface sediments and aeolian deposits by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover (Stern et al., 2015). This detection is significant because fixed nitrogen is necessary for life, a requirement that drove the evolution of N-fixing metabolism in life on Earth. The question remains as to the extent to which a primitive N cycle ever developed on Mars, and whether N is currently being deposited on the martian surface at a non-negligible rate. It is also necessary to consider processes that could recycle oxidized N back into the atmosphere, and how these processes may have changed the soil inventory of N over time. The abundance of fixed nitrogen detected as NO from thermal decomposition of nitrate is consistent with both delivery of nitrate via impact generated thermal shock early in martian history and dry deposition from photochemistry of thermospheric NO, occurring in the present. Processes that could recycle N back into the atmosphere may include nitrate reduction by Fe(II) in aqueous environments on early Mars, impact decomposition, and/or UV photolysis. In order to better understand the history of nitrogen fixation on Mars, we look to cycling of N in Mars analog environments on Earth such as the Atacama Desert and the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. In particular, we examine the ratio of nitrate to perchlorate (NO3-/ClO4-) in these areas compared to those calculated from data acquired on Mars.

  16. Fostering Mathematical Curiosity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knuth, Eric J.

    2002-01-01

    Demonstrates what it might mean to engage students in problem posing and how teachers might begin to create classroom environments that encourage, develop, and foster mathematical curiosity. (Author/NB)

  17. The Economics of Curiosity

    OpenAIRE

    2013-01-01

    We develop the hypothesis that an individual can get some value of information, even if they do not use the information for his subsequent decision, contrary to the expected utility theory. Curiosity is associated with the direct utility from information and is defined formally by using the concept of entropy. We can measure an agent's curiosity level by the maximum amount of money that he is willing to pay in order to obtain the information thereby reducing the entropy. We test the hypothesi...

  18. Mars Methane highs unrelated to comets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roos-Serote, Maarten; Atreya, Sushil K.; Webster, Chris; Mahaffy, Paul

    2016-10-01

    Until the Curiosity Rover arrived at Mars, all measurements of methane were done by remote sensing, either from Earth or from orbiting spacecraft, using a variety of different instruments and under different observing conditions. The Curiosity Rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) / Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) has carried out systematic measurements of martian methane from Gale crater for two consecutive martian years (31 - 33, starting in October 2012). Meteoric material interacts with the martian atmosphere when Mars passes through a meteoroid stream left behind by cometary bodies orbiting the Sun. Predictions show that 33 such events are likely to occur during the martian year. It has been suggested that the organics present in this material trigger the formation of methane in the atmosphere, and thus these events could possibly be an explanation for the observed variations in the methane abundance. In a recent paper, Fries et al. [2016] argued that all measurements of high methane concentrations are within 16 days of a predicted meteor shower event, and that as such there is a correlation. We present a new analysis including seven new data points that were not available previously. All these new measurements show low methane values. Some of the new measurements were deliberately taken at the same Ls when high values of methane were measured in the previous martian year, showing that the high methane measurements are likely not seasonal, as would be expected if they were connected to meteor shower events. In our analysis we take into account all the predicted meteor events and search for any correlation drawn between these events and the level of methane in the atmosphere. We conclude that whether we consider individual data points, apply statistical analysis, or consider different time spans between measurements and the occurrence of meteor events, or possible supply of organic material from comets, there is no evidence for such a correlation in the

  19. Two Years Onboard the MER Opportunity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estlin, Tara; Anderson, Robert C.; Bornstein, Benjamin; Burl, Michael; Castano, Rebecca; Gaines, Daniel; Judd, Michele; Thompson, David R.

    2012-01-01

    The Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) system provides automated data collection for planetary rovers. AEGIS is currently being used onboard the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission's Opportunity to provide autonomous targeting of the MER Panoramic camera. Prior to AEGIS, targeted data was collected in a manual fashion where targets were manually identified in images transmitted to Earth and the rover had to remain in the same location for one to several communication cycles. AEGIS enables targeted data to be rapidly acquired with no delays for ground communication. Targets are selected by AEGIS through the use of onboard data analysis techniques that are guided by scientist-specified objectives. This paper provides an overview of the how AEGIS has been used on the Opportunity rover, focusing on usage that occurred during a 21 kilometer historic trek to the Mars Endeavour crater.

  20. Mathematics and Mars Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Velasco, M. P.; Usero, D.; Jiménez, S.; Aguirre, C.; Vázquez, L.

    2015-01-01

    In this study we consider modelization associated with study of solar radiation at the surface of Mars and the Martian atmosphere. In particular, we present elements concerning retrieval of the solar irradiance spectrum on the surface of Mars from data collected by arrays of photodiodes, such as those onboard the "Curiosity" MSL-rover and other missions currently under design. By using these techniques we are able to provide an approximate description of the expected measures. In this work we have also developed a new method of tomography-based signal analysis for detection of events in the Martian atmosphere boundary layer, such as dust devils. In general, this method enables detection of events that occur briefly in time and are localized in space. This tomographic method allows us to identify the presence of more dust devils than detected previously using the same data. Finally we show new scenarios of modelization through fractional differential equations associated with diffusion processes and nonlocal problems. Such approaches could be used to model complex Martian dynamics.

  1. X-Ray Diffraction Reference Intensity Ratios of Amorphous and Poorly Crystalline Phases: Implications for CheMin on the Mars Science Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, R. V.; Achilles, C. N.; Chipera, S. J.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.

    2013-01-01

    The CheMin instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity is an X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) instrument capable of providing the mineralogical and chemical compositions of rocks and soils on the surface of Mars. CheMin uses a microfocus X-ray tube with a Co target, transmission geometry, and an energy-discriminating X-ray sensitive CCD to produce simultaneous 2-D XRD patterns and energy-dispersive X-ray histograms from powdered samples. Piezoelectric vibration of the cell is used to randomize the sample to reduce preferred orientation effects. Instrument details are provided in [1, 2, 3]. Analyses of rock and soil samples by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) show nanophase ferric oxide (npOx) is a significant component of the Martian global soil [4] and is thought to be one of the major contributing phases that the Curiosity rover will encounter if a soil sample is analyzed in Gale Crater. Because of the nature of this material, npOx will likely contribute to an X-ray amorphous or short-order component of a XRD pattern measured by the CheMin instrument.

  2. Rovers as Geological Helpers for Planetary Surface Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoker, Carol; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Rovers can be used to perform field science on other planetary surfaces and in hostile and dangerous environments on Earth. Rovers are mobility systems for carrying instrumentation to investigate targets of interest and can perform geologic exploration on a distant planet (e.g. Mars) autonomously with periodic command from Earth. For nearby sites (such as the Moon or sites on Earth) rovers can be teleoperated with excellent capabilities. In future human exploration, robotic rovers will assist human explorers as scouts, tool and instrument carriers, and a traverse "buddy". Rovers can be wheeled vehicles, like the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner, or can walk on legs, like the Dante vehicle that was deployed into a volcanic caldera on Mt. Spurr, Alaska. Wheeled rovers can generally traverse slopes as high as 35 degrees, can avoid hazards too big to roll over, and can carry a wide range of instrumentation. More challenging terrain and steeper slopes can be negotiated by walkers. Limitations on rover performance result primarily from the bandwidth and frequency with which data are transmitted, and the accuracy with which the rover can navigate to a new position. Based on communication strategies, power availability, and navigation approach planned or demonstrated for Mars missions to date, rovers on Mars will probably traverse only a few meters per day. Collecting samples, especially if it involves accurate instrument placement, will be a slow process. Using live teleoperation (such as operating a rover on the Moon from Earth) rovers have traversed more than 1 km in an 8 hour period while also performing science operations, and can be moved much faster when the goal is simply to make the distance. I will review the results of field experiments with planetary surface rovers, concentrating on their successful and problematic performance aspects. This paper will be accompanied by a working demonstration of a prototype planetary surface rover.

  3. Detection and Quantification of Nitrogen Compounds in the First Drilled Martian Solid Samples by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, Jennifer C.; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; Freissinet, Caroline; McKay, Christopher P.; Archer, P. Douglas, Jr.; Buch, Arnaud; Coll, Patrice; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Franz, Heather B.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Ming, Douglas W.; Steele, Andrew; Szopa, Cyril; Wray, James J.; Conrad, Pamela G.; Mahaffy, Paul R.

    2014-01-01

    The Sampl;e Analysis at Mars (sam) instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover detected both reduced and oxidized nitrogen bearing compounds during the pyrolysis of surface materials from the three sites at Gale Crater. Preliminary detections of nitrogen species include No, HCN, ClCN, and TFMA ((trifluoro-N-methyl-acetamide), Confirmation of indigenous Martian nitrogen-bearing compounds requires quantifying N contribution from the terrestrial derivatization reagents carried for SAM's wet chemistry experiment that contribute to the SAM background. Nitrogen species detected in the SAM solid sample analyses can also be produced during laboratory pyrolysis experiments where these reagents are heated in the presence of perchlorate a compound that has also been identified by SAM in Mars solid samples.

  4. Detection and Quantification of Nitrogen Compounds in the First Drilled Martian Solid Samples by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, J. C.; Navarro-Gonzales, R.; Freissinet, C.; McKay, C. P.; Archer, P. D., Jr.; Buch, A.; Brunner, A. E.; Coll, P.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Franz, H. B.; Glavin, D. P.; McAdam, A. C.; Ming, D.; Steele, A.; Sutter, B.; Szopa, C.; Wray, J. J.; Conrad, P.; Mahaffy, P. R.

    2014-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover detected both reduced and oxidized nitrogen-bearing compounds during the pyrolysis of surface materials at Yellowknife Bay in Gale Crater. Preliminary detections of nitrogen species include NO, HCN, ClCN, CH3CN, and TFMA (trifluoro-N-methyl-acetamide). Confirmation of indigenous Martian N-bearing compounds requires quantifying N contribution from the terrestrial derivatization reagents (e.g. N-methyl-N-tertbutyldimethylsilyltrifluoroacetamide, MTBSTFA and dimethylformamide, DMF) carried for SAM's wet chemistry experiment that contribute to the SAM background. Nitrogen species detected in the SAM solid sample analyses can also be produced during laboratory pyrolysis experiments where these reagents are heated in the presence of perchlorate, a compound that has also been identified by SAM in Mars solid samples.

  5. Chemical variations observed on Aeolis Mons in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frydenvang, Jens; Gasda, Patrick J.; Thompson, Lucy; Hurowitz, Joel; Grotzinger, John P.; Blaney, Diana L.; Gellert, Ralf; Wiens, Roger; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; MSL Science Team

    2016-10-01

    The extraordinarily extensive exposure of hematite-, clay-, sulfate-bearing stratigraphic layers in the lower part of Aeolis Mons was the primary reason Gale Crater was selected as the landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. 753 martian solar days (sols) after the Curiosity rover landed in Gale Crater in August 2012, and after driving more than 9 km, the Curiosity rover arrived at the first exposure of the Murray formation, the basal layer of Aeolis Mons. The Murray formation is a thinly laminated lacustrine mudstone showing stratification down to the millimeter scale. This supports the idea that the stratigraphic layers of Aeolis Mons are sedimentary, and likely deposited in a series of long-lived lakes extending into the early Hesperian time, as recently described by Grotzinger et al. (Science, vol. 350, 2015). The chemical variations observed throughout the Murray formation by the ChemCam and APXS instruments in the 600+ sols since first arriving at Aeolis Mons will be presented. While Murray remains thinly laminated throughout the 30+ vertical meters of stratigraphy explored, large chemical variations are observed. The most extreme variations arise from likely co-located detrital and diagenetic silica enrichments in Murray. Remarkably, an associated diagenetic silica enrichment is also observed in the unconformably overlying eolian sandstone of the Stimson formation in that location. The detrital enrichment provides evidence of how the source region chemistry varied as the sedimentary layers of Aeolis Mons were deposited. Conversely, the diagenetic enrichment observed across both the Murray and Stimson formations provides compelling evidence for the presence of subsurface fluids in Gale Crater, thousands to millions of years after the crater lakes disappeared. This evidence of liquid water greatly extends the timescale in which Gale Crater might have been habitable.

  6. Pu'u Poli'ahu, Mauna Kea: A Possible Analog for the Hematite Bearing Layer Located in Gale Crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, M. E.

    2014-01-01

    Hyperspectral data detected by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on board Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) indicated the presence of a hematite bearing ridge on Mount Sharp situated in the Gale Crater, Mars. [Fraeman]. The presence of this mineral in high concentrations is indicative of possible aqueous origins. [Fraeman] In 2012, Curiosity Rover landed in Gale Crater on Mars. Curiosity's mission is to determine Mars' habitability and is equipped with an advanced suite of scientific instruments that are capable of conducting analyses on rocks and soil. The hematite bearing ridge on Mount Sharp is thought to be a good candidate of study for Curiosity. To better understand this type of terrain, the study of analog sites similar in geologic setting is of great importance. One site thought to be a comparable analog is a cinder cone called Pu'u Poli'ahu located on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawai?i. Poli'ahu is unique among the tephra cones of Mauna Kea because it is thought to have formed in subaqueous conditions approximately 170,000 to 175,000 years ago. [Porter] Consequently located on the inner flanks of Poli'ahu is a rock outcrop that contains hematite. Samples were collected from the outcrop and characterized using the following instruments: Digital Microscope, Panalytical X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The initial preparation of the rocks involved documenting each sample by creating powdered samples, thick sections, and photo documentation.

  7. Mineralogy of a Mudstone at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaniman, D. T.; Bish, D. L.; Ming, D. W.; Bristow, T. F.; Morris, R. V.; Blake, D. F.; Chipera, S. J.; Morrison, S. M.; Treiman, A. H.; Rampe, E. B.; Rice, M.; Achilles, C. N.; Grotzinger, J. P.; McLennan, S. M.; Williams, J.; Bell, J. F.; Newsom, H. E.; Downs, R. T.; Maurice, S.; Sarrazin, P.; Yen, A. S.; Morookian, J. M.; Farmer, J. D.; Stack, K.; Milliken, R. E.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Sumner, D. Y.; Berger, G.; Crisp, J. A.; Hurowitz, J. A.; Anderson, R.; Des Marais, D. J.; Stolper, E. M.; Edgett, K. S.; Gupta, S.; Spanovich, N.; Agard, Christophe; Alves Verdasca, José Alexandre; Anderson, Ryan; Archer, Doug; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Arvidson, Ray; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Atreya, Sushil; Aubrey, Andrew; Baker, Burt; Baker, Michael; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Baratoux, David; Baroukh, Julien; Barraclough, Bruce; Bean, Keri; Beegle, Luther; Behar, Alberto; Bender, Steve; Benna, Mehdi; Bentz, Jennifer; Berger, Jeff; Berman, Daniel; Blanco Avalos, Juan J.; Blaney, Diana; Blank, Jen; Blau, Hannah; Bleacher, Lora; Boehm, Eckart; Botta, Oliver; Böttcher, Stephan; Boucher, Thomas; Bower, Hannah; Boyd, Nick; Boynton, Bill; Breves, Elly; Bridges, John; Bridges, Nathan; Brinckerhoff, William; Brinza, David; Brunet, Claude; Brunner, Anna; Brunner, Will; Buch, Arnaud; Bullock, Mark; Burmeister, Sönke; Cabane, Michel; Calef, Fred; Cameron, James; Campbell, John “Iain”; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Caride Rodríguez, Javier; Carmosino, Marco; Carrasco Blázquez, Isaías; Charpentier, Antoine; Choi, David; Clark, Benton; Clegg, Sam; Cleghorn, Timothy; Cloutis, Ed; Cody, George; Coll, Patrice; Conrad, Pamela; Coscia, David; Cousin, Agnès; Cremers, David; Cros, Alain; Cucinotta, Frank; d'Uston, Claude; Davis, Scott; Day, Mackenzie “Kenzie”; de la Torre Juarez, Manuel; DeFlores, Lauren; DeLapp, Dorothea; DeMarines, Julia; Dietrich, William; Dingler, Robert; Donny, Christophe; Drake, Darrell; Dromart, Gilles; Dupont, Audrey; Duston, Brian; Dworkin, Jason; Dyar, M. Darby; Edgar, Lauren; Edwards, Christopher; Edwards, Laurence; Ehresmann, Bent; Eigenbrode, Jen; Elliott, Beverley; Elliott, Harvey; Ewing, Ryan; Fabre, Cécile; Fairén, Alberto; Farley, Ken; Fassett, Caleb; Favot, Laurent; Fay, Donald; Fedosov, Fedor; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Fisk, Marty; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Flesch, Greg; Floyd, Melissa; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Forni, Olivier; Fraeman, Abby; Francis, Raymond; François, Pascaline; Franz, Heather; Freissinet, Caroline; French, Katherine Louise; Frydenvang, Jens; Gaboriaud, Alain; Gailhanou, Marc; Garvin, James; Gasnault, Olivier; Geffroy, Claude; Gellert, Ralf; Genzer, Maria; Glavin, Daniel; Godber, Austin; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Golovin, Dmitry; Gómez Gómez, Felipe; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Gondet, Brigitte; Gordon, Suzanne; Gorevan, Stephen; Grant, John; Griffes, Jennifer; Grinspoon, David; Guillemot, Philippe; Guo, Jingnan; Guzewich, Scott; Haberle, Robert; Halleaux, Douglas; Hallet, Bernard; Hamilton, Vicky; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Harpold, Daniel; Harri, Ari-Matti; Harshman, Karl; Hassler, Donald; Haukka, Harri; Hayes, Alex; Herkenhoff, Ken; Herrera, Paul; Hettrich, Sebastian; Heydari, Ezat; Hipkin, Victoria; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Hudgins, Judy; Huntress, Wesley; Hviid, Stubbe; Iagnemma, Karl; Indyk, Steve; Israël, Guy; Jackson, Ryan; Jacob, Samantha; Jakosky, Bruce; Jensen, Elsa; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Johnson, Jeffrey; Johnson, Micah; Johnstone, Steve; Jones, Andrea; Jones, John; Joseph, Jonathan; Jun, Insoo; Kah, Linda; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kahre, Melinda; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kasprzak, Wayne; Kauhanen, Janne; Keely, Leslie; Kemppinen, Osku; Keymeulen, Didier; Kim, Myung-Hee; Kinch, Kjartan; King, Penny; Kirkland, Laurel; Kocurek, Gary; Koefoed, Asmus; Köhler, Jan; Kortmann, Onno; Kozyrev, Alexander; Krezoski, Jill; Krysak, Daniel; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Lacour, Jean Luc; Lafaille, Vivian; Langevin, Yves; Lanza, Nina; Lasue, Jeremie; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Lee, Ella Mae; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Lees, David; Lefavor, Matthew; Lemmon, Mark; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Leshin, Laurie; Léveillé, Richard; Lewin-Carpintier, Éric; Lewis, Kevin; Li, Shuai; Lipkaman, Leslie; Little, Cynthia; Litvak, Maxim; Lorigny, Eric; Lugmair, Guenter; Lundberg, Angela; Lyness, Eric; Madsen, Morten; Mahaffy, Paul; Maki, Justin; Malakhov, Alexey; Malespin, Charles; Malin, Michael; Mangold, Nicolas; Manhes, Gérard; Manning, Heidi; Marchand, Geneviève; Marín Jiménez, Mercedes; Martín García, César; Martin, Dave; Martin, Mildred; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Mauchien, Patrick; McAdam, Amy; McCartney, Elaina; McConnochie, Timothy; McCullough, Emily; McEwan, Ian; McKay, Christopher; McNair, Sean; Melikechi, Noureddine; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Meyer, Michael; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Miller, Hayden; Miller, Kristen; Minitti, Michelle; Mischna, Michael; Mitrofanov, Igor; Moersch, Jeff; Mokrousov, Maxim; Molina Jurado, Antonio; Moores, John; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Muller, Jan-Peter; Muñoz Caro, Guillermo; Nachon, Marion; Navarro López, Sara; Navarro-González, Rafael; Nealson, Kenneth; Nefian, Ara; Nelson, Tony; Newcombe, Megan; Newman, Claire; Nikiforov, Sergey; Niles, Paul; Nixon, Brian; Noe Dobrea, Eldar; Nolan, Thomas; Oehler, Dorothy; Ollila, Ann; Olson, Timothy; Owen, Tobias; de Pablo Hernández, Miguel Ángel; Paillet, Alexis; Pallier, Etienne; Palucis, Marisa; Parker, Timothy; Parot, Yann; Patel, Kiran; Paton, Mark; Paulsen, Gale; Pavlov, Alex; Pavri, Betina; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pepin, Robert; Peret, Laurent; Perez, Rene; Perrett, Glynis; Peterson, Joe; Pilorget, Cedric; Pinet, Patrick; Pla-García, Jorge; Plante, Ianik; Poitrasson, Franck; Polkko, Jouni; Popa, Radu; Posiolova, Liliya; Posner, Arik; Pradler, Irina; Prats, Benito; Prokhorov, Vasily; Purdy, Sharon Wilson; Raaen, Eric; Radziemski, Leon; Rafkin, Scot; Ramos, Miguel; Raulin, François; Ravine, Michael; Reitz, Günther; Rennó, Nilton; Richardson, Mark; Robert, François; Robertson, Kevin; Rodriguez Manfredi, José Antonio; Romeral-Planelló, Julio J.; Rowland, Scott; Rubin, David; Saccoccio, Muriel; Salamon, Andrew; Sandoval, Jennifer; Sanin, Anton; Sans Fuentes, Sara Alejandra; Saper, Lee; Sautter, Violaine; Savijärvi, Hannu; Schieber, Juergen; Schmidt, Mariek; Schmidt, Walter; Scholes, Daniel “Dan”; Schoppers, Marcel; Schröder, Susanne; Schwenzer, Susanne; Sebastian Martinez, Eduardo; Sengstacken, Aaron; Shterts, Ruslan; Siebach, Kirsten; Siili, Tero; Simmonds, Jeff; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Slavney, Susie; Sletten, Ronald; Smith, Michael; Sobrón Sánchez, Pablo; Spray, John; Squyres, Steven; Stalport, Fabien; Steele, Andrew; Stein, Thomas; Stern, Jennifer; Stewart, Noel; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Stoiber, Kevin; Sucharski, Bob; Sullivan, Rob; Summons, Roger; Sun, Vivian; Supulver, Kimberley; Sutter, Brad; Szopa, Cyril; Tan, Florence; Tate, Christopher; Teinturier, Samuel; ten Kate, Inge; Thomas, Peter; Thompson, Lucy; Tokar, Robert; Toplis, Mike; Torres Redondo, Josefina; Trainer, Melissa; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; VanBommel, Scott; Varenikov, Alexey; Vasavada, Ashwin; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Vicenzi, Edward; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Voytek, Mary; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Ward, Jennifer; Webster, Chris; Weigle, Eddie; Wellington, Danika; Westall, Frances; Wiens, Roger Craig; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Williams, Amy; Williams, Rebecca; Williams, Richard B. “Mouser”; Wilson, Mike; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Wolff, Mike; Wong, Mike; Wray, James; Wu, Megan; Yana, Charles; Yingst, Aileen; Zeitlin, Cary; Zimdar, Robert; Zorzano Mier, María-Paz

    2014-01-01

    Sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay (Gale crater) on Mars include mudstone sampled by the Curiosity rover. The samples, John Klein and Cumberland, contain detrital basaltic minerals, calcium sulfates, iron oxide or hydroxides, iron sulfides, amorphous material, and trioctahedral smectites. The John Klein smectite has basal spacing of ~10 angstroms, indicating little interlayer hydration. The Cumberland smectite has basal spacing at both ~13.2 and ~10 angstroms. The larger spacing suggests a partially chloritized interlayer or interlayer magnesium or calcium facilitating H2O retention. Basaltic minerals in the mudstone are similar to those in nearby eolian deposits. However, the mudstone has far less Fe-forsterite, possibly lost with formation of smectite plus magnetite. Late Noachian/Early Hesperian or younger age indicates that clay mineral formation on Mars extended beyond Noachian time.

  8. Mineralogy of a mudstone at Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaniman, D T; Bish, D L; Ming, D W; Bristow, T F; Morris, R V; Blake, D F; Chipera, S J; Morrison, S M; Treiman, A H; Rampe, E B; Rice, M; Achilles, C N; Grotzinger, J P; McLennan, S M; Williams, J; Bell, J F; Newsom, H E; Downs, R T; Maurice, S; Sarrazin, P; Yen, A S; Morookian, J M; Farmer, J D; Stack, K; Milliken, R E; Ehlmann, B L; Sumner, D Y; Berger, G; Crisp, J A; Hurowitz, J A; Anderson, R; Des Marais, D J; Stolper, E M; Edgett, K S; Gupta, S; Spanovich, N

    2014-01-24

    Sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay (Gale crater) on Mars include mudstone sampled by the Curiosity rover. The samples, John Klein and Cumberland, contain detrital basaltic minerals, calcium sulfates, iron oxide or hydroxides, iron sulfides, amorphous material, and trioctahedral smectites. The John Klein smectite has basal spacing of ~10 angstroms, indicating little interlayer hydration. The Cumberland smectite has basal spacing at both ~13.2 and ~10 angstroms. The larger spacing suggests a partially chloritized interlayer or interlayer magnesium or calcium facilitating H2O retention. Basaltic minerals in the mudstone are similar to those in nearby eolian deposits. However, the mudstone has far less Fe-forsterite, possibly lost with formation of smectite plus magnetite. Late Noachian/Early Hesperian or younger age indicates that clay mineral formation on Mars extended beyond Noachian time.

  9. High manganese concentrations in rocks at Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lanza, Nina L.; Fischer, Woodward W.; Wiens, Roger C.; Grotzinger, John; Ollila, Ann M.; Anderson, Ryan B.; Clark, Benton C.; Gellert, Ralf; Mangold, Nicolas; Maurice, Sylvestre; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Nachon, Marion; Schmidt, Mariek E.; Berger, Jeffrey; Clegg, Samuel M.; Forni, Olivier; Hardgrove, Craig; Melikechi, Noureddine; Newsom, Horton E.; Sautter, Violaine

    2014-01-01

    The surface of Mars has long been considered a relatively oxidizing environment, an idea supported by the abundance of ferric iron phases observed there. However, compared to iron, manganese is sensitive only to high redox potential oxidants, and when concentrated in rocks, it provides a more specific redox indicator of aqueous environments. Observations from the ChemCam instrument on the Curiosity rover indicate abundances of manganese in and on some rock targets that are 1–2 orders of magnitude higher than previously observed on Mars, suggesting the presence of an as-yet unidentified manganese-rich phase. These results show that the Martian surface has at some point in time hosted much more highly oxidizing conditions than has previously been recognized.

  10. A Rover Operations Protocol for Maintaining Compliance with Planetary Protection Requirements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Melissa; Vasavada, Ashwin

    2016-07-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, with its Curiosity rover, arrived at Gale Crater in August 2012 with the scientific objective of assessing the past and present habitability of the landing site area. It is not a life detection mission, but one that uses geological, geochemical, and environmental measurements to understand whether past and present conditions could have supported life. The MSL mission is designated Planetary Protection Category IVa, with specific restrictions on the landing site and surface operations. In particular, the mission is prohibited from introducing any hardware into a Mars Special Region, as defined by COSPAR policy and in NASA document NPR 8020.12D. Fluid-formed features such as recurring slope lineae are included in this prohibition. Finally, any evidence suggesting the presence of Special Regions or flowing liquid at the actual MSL landing site shall be communicated to the NASA Planetary Protection Officer immediately, and physical contact by the rover with such features shall be entirely avoided. The MSL Project has recently developed and instituted a protocol in daily rover operations to ensure ongoing compliance with its planetary protection categorization. A particular challenge comes from the fact that the characteristics of potential Special Regions may not be obvious in the rover downlink data (e.g., landscape images, chemical measurements, or meteorology), or easily distinguishable from characteristics of other processes that do not imply Special Regions. For this reason, the first step in the process would be for the lead scientist for that day of operations (a role that rotates through senior scientists on the mission) to scrutinize all the targets that may receive interaction by rover hardware, such as targets for arm contact, or paths for wheel contact. Based on the expertise of the lead scientist, and definitions of Mars Special Regions, if any features of concern are identified, the other scientists on duty that

  11. Electron/positron measurements obtained with the Mars Science Laboratory Radiation Assessment Detector on the surface of Mars

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Koehler, J.; Wimmer-Schweingruber, R.F.; Appel, J. [Kiel Univ. (Germany). Inst. of Experimental and Applied Physics; and others

    2016-04-01

    The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), on board the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity, measures the energetic charged and neutral particles and the radiation dose rate on the surface of Mars. Although charged and neutral particle spectra have been investigated in detail, the electron and positron spectra have not been investigated yet. The reason for that is that they are difficult to separate from each other and because of the technical challenges involved in extracting energy spectra from the raw data. We use GEANT4 to model the behavior of the RAD instrument for electron/positron measurements.We compare Planetocosmics predictions for different atmospheric pressures and different modulation parameters Φ with the obtained RAD electron/positron measurements.We find that the RAD electron/positron measurements agree well with the spectra predicted by Planetocosmics. Both RAD measurements and Planetocosmics simulation show a dependence of the electron/positron fluxes on both atmospheric pressure and solar modulation potential.

  12. Volatile and organic compositions of sedimentary rocks in Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, D W; Archer, P D; Glavin, D P; Eigenbrode, J L; Franz, H B; Sutter, B; Brunner, A E; Stern, J C; Freissinet, C; McAdam, A C; Mahaffy, P R; Cabane, M; Coll, P; Campbell, J L; Atreya, S K; Niles, P B; Bell, J F; Bish, D L; Brinckerhoff, W B; Buch, A; Conrad, P G; Des Marais, D J; Ehlmann, B L; Fairén, A G; Farley, K; Flesch, G J; Francois, P; Gellert, R; Grant, J A; Grotzinger, J P; Gupta, S; Herkenhoff, K E; Hurowitz, J A; Leshin, L A; Lewis, K W; McLennan, S M; Miller, K E; Moersch, J; Morris, R V; Navarro-González, R; Pavlov, A A; Perrett, G M; Pradler, I; Squyres, S W; Summons, R E; Steele, A; Stolper, E M; Sumner, D Y; Szopa, C; Teinturier, S; Trainer, M G; Treiman, A H; Vaniman, D T; Vasavada, A R; Webster, C R; Wray, J J; Yingst, R A

    2014-01-24

    H2O, CO2, SO2, O2, H2, H2S, HCl, chlorinated hydrocarbons, NO, and other trace gases were evolved during pyrolysis of two mudstone samples acquired by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay within Gale crater, Mars. H2O/OH-bearing phases included 2:1 phyllosilicate(s), bassanite, akaganeite, and amorphous materials. Thermal decomposition of carbonates and combustion of organic materials are candidate sources for the CO2. Concurrent evolution of O2 and chlorinated hydrocarbons suggests the presence of oxychlorine phase(s). Sulfides are likely sources for sulfur-bearing species. Higher abundances of chlorinated hydrocarbons in the mudstone compared with Rocknest windblown materials previously analyzed by Curiosity suggest that indigenous martian or meteoritic organic carbon sources may be preserved in the mudstone; however, the carbon source for the chlorinated hydrocarbons is not definitively of martian origin.

  13. Volatile and organic compositions of sedimentary rocks in Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, D. W.; Archer, P.D.; Glavin, D.P.; Eigenbrode, J.L.; Franz, H.B.; Sutter, B.; Brunner, A.E.; Stern, J.C.; Freissinet, C.; McAdam, A.C.; Mahaffy, P.R.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Campbell, J.L.; Atreya, S.K.; Niles, P.B.; Bell, J.F.; Bish, D.L.; Brinckerhoff, W.B.; Buch, A.; Conrad, P.G.; Des Marais, D.J.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Fairén, A.G.; Farley, K.; Flesch, G.J.; Francois, P.; Gellert, Ralf; Grant, J. A.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Leshin, L.A.; Lewis, K.W.; McLennan, S.M.; Miller, Karl E.; Moersch, J.; Morris, R.V.; Navarro- González, R.; Pavlov, A.A.; Perrett, G.M.; Pradler, I.; Squyres, S. W.; Summons, Roger E.; Steele, A.; Stolper, E.M.; Sumner, D.Y.; Szopa, C.; Teinturier, S.; Trainer, M.G.; Treiman, A.H.; Vaniman, D.T.; Vasavada, A.R.; Webster, C.R.; Wray, J.J.; Yingst, R.A.

    2014-01-01

    H2O, CO2, SO2, O2, H2, H2S, HCl, chlorinated hydrocarbons, NO, and other trace gases were evolved during pyrolysis of two mudstone samples acquired by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay within Gale crater, Mars. H2O/OH-bearing phases included 2:1 phyllosilicate(s), bassanite, akaganeite, and amorphous materials. Thermal decomposition of carbonates and combustion of organic materials are candidate sources for the CO2. Concurrent evolution of O2 and chlorinated hydrocarbons suggests the presence of oxychlorine phase(s). Sulfides are likely sources for sulfur-bearing species. Higher abundances of chlorinated hydrocarbons in the mudstone compared with Rocknest windblown materials previously analyzed by Curiosity suggest that indigenous martian or meteoritic organic carbon sources may be preserved in the mudstone; however, the carbon source for the chlorinated hydrocarbons is not definitively of martian origin.

  14. Water equivalent hydrogen estimates from the first 200 sols of Curiosity's traverse (Bradbury Landing to Yellowknife Bay): Results from the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) passive mode experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tate, C. G.; Moersch, J.; Jun, I.; Ming, D. W.; Mitrofanov, I.; Litvak, M.; Behar, A.; Boynton, W. V.; Deflores, L.; Drake, D.; Ehresmann, B.; Fedosov, F.; Golovin, D.; Hardgrove, C.; Harshman, K.; Hassler, D. M.; Kozyrev, A. S.; Kuzmin, R.; Lisov, D.; Malakhov, A.; Milliken, R.; Mischna, M.; Mokrousov, M.; Nikiforov, S.; Sanin, A. B.; Starr, R.; Varenikov, A.; Vostrukhin, A.; Zeitlin, C.

    2015-12-01

    The Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) experiment on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity is designed to detect neutrons to determine hydrogen abundance within the subsurface of Mars (Mitrofanov, I.G. et al. [2012]. Space Sci. Rev. 170, 559-582. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11214-012-9924-y; Litvak, M.L. et al. [2008]. Astrobiology 8, 605-613. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ast.2007.0157). While DAN has a pulsed neutron generator for active measurements, in passive mode it only measures the leakage spectrum of neutrons produced by the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) and Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR). DAN passive measurements provide better spatial coverage than the active measurements because they can be acquired while the rover is moving. Here we compare DAN passive-mode data to models of the instrument's response to compositional differences in a homogeneous regolith in order to estimate the water equivalent hydrogen (WEH) content along the first 200 sols of Curiosity's traverse in Gale Crater, Mars. WEH content is shown to vary greatly along the traverse. These estimates range from 0.5 ± 0.1 wt.% to 3.9 ± 0.2 wt.% for fixed locations (usually overnight stops) investigated by the rover and 0.6 ± 0.2 wt.% to 7.6 ± 1.3 wt.% for areas that the rover has traversed while continuously acquiring DAN passive data between fixed locations. Estimates of WEH abundances at fixed locations based on passive mode data are in broad agreement with those estimated at the same locations using active mode data. Localized (meter-scale) anomalies in estimated WEH values from traverse measurements have no particular surface expression observable in co-located images. However at a much larger scale, the hummocky plains and bedded fractured units are shown to be distinct compositional units based on the hydrogen content derived from DAN passive measurements. DAN passive WEH estimates are also shown to be consistent with geologic models inferred from other

  15. An Approach of Attitude Estimation by Using Vision-Aided IMU for Mars Rover%基于视觉和MEMS-IMU融合的火星车导航定向技术

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    娄路

    2012-01-01

    The autonomous navigation and attitude estimation is one of the most challenge tasks of planetary rover operations. The heading information is an important part of Mars rover navigation , and its precision will affect the localization precision and the performance of navigation directly, especially for long range and long duration travel on the Mars. In order to acquire the attitude and heading, the visual aided MEMS-IMU methods are presented, which use accelerometer to correct gyro biases and develop an appearance-based algorithm to measure heading/rotation with monocular camera. The methods are simple f realtime and reliable, and the experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach proposed.%火星探测车需要在复杂非结构化火星地表环境下完成自主导航定位任务.针对火星车导航定位传感器的低功耗、微型化的发展趋势,提出一种基于MEMS - IMU的传感器补偿融合、单目视觉航向测定的方法.该方法能克服火星复杂地表和单一性地貌环境可能导致的测试误差过大问题.模拟环境下的实验数据结果显示该方法具备实时性好、可靠性高的特点,姿态估计和航向测量的准确率较高.

  16. Mars

    CERN Document Server

    Elkins-Tanton, Linda T

    2010-01-01

    Mars exploration has never been more active, and our understanding of the planet is advancing rapidly. New discoveries reveal gullies carved by recent groundwater flow, thick ice deposits protected by rocks and soil even at the equator, and new evidence for lakes and seas in Mars' past. The Martian surface has some of the oldest planetary crust in the solar system, containing clues to conditions in early planets that cannot be obtained elsewhere.Beginning with a discussion of Mars as a planet in orbit, Mars, Revised Edition covers fundamental facts about this planet, including its mass and siz

  17. Detection of Organics at Mars: How Wet Chemistry Onboard SAM Helps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buch, A.; Freissinet, Caroline; Szopa, C.; Glavin, D.; Coll, P.; Cabane, M.; Eigenbrode, J.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Coscia, D.; Teinturier, S.; hide

    2013-01-01

    For the first time in the history of space exploration, a mission of interest to astrobiology could be able to analyze refractory organic compounds in the soil of Mars. Wet chemistry experiment allow organic components to be altered in such a way that improves there detection either by releasing the compounds from sample matricies or by changing the chemical structure to be amenable to analytical conditions. The latter is particular important when polar compounds are present. Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), on the Curiosity rover of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, has onboard two wet chemistry experiments: derivatization and thermochemolysis. Here we report on the nature of the MTBSTFA derivatization experiment on SAM, the detection of MTBSTFA in initial SAM results, and the implications of this detection.

  18. Mars Science Laboratory Flight Software Internal Testing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Justin D.; Lam, Danny

    2011-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team is sending the rover, Curiosity, to Mars, and therefore is physically and technically complex. During my stay, I have assisted the MSL Flight Software (FSW) team in implementing functional test scripts to ensure that the FSW performs to the best of its abilities. There are a large number of FSW requirements that have been written up for implementation; however I have only been assigned a few sections of these requirements. There are many stages within testing; one of the early stages is FSW Internal Testing (FIT). The FIT team can accomplish this with simulation software and the MSL Test Automation Kit (MTAK). MTAK has the ability to integrate with the Software Simulation Equipment (SSE) and the Mission Processing and Control System (MPCS) software which makes it a powerful tool within the MSL FSW development process. The MSL team must ensure that the rover accomplishes all stages of the mission successfully. Due to the natural complexity of this project there is a strong emphasis on testing, as failure is not an option. The entire mission could be jeopardized if something is overlooked.

  19. Comparison of Martian Surface Radiation Predictions to the Measurements of Mars Science Laboratory Radiation Assessment Detector (MSL/RAD)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Myung-Hee Y.; Cucinotta, Francis A.; Zeitlin, Cary; Hassler, Donald M.; Ehresmann, Bent; Rafkin, Scot C. R.; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert F; Boettcher, Stephan; Boehm, Eckart; Guo, Jingnan; hide

    2014-01-01

    For the analysis of radiation risks to astronauts and planning exploratory space missions, detailed knowledge of particle spectra is an important factor. Detailed measurements of the energetic particle radiation environment on the surface of Mars have been made by the Mars Science Laboratory Radiation Assessment Detector (MSL-RAD) on the Curiosity rover since August 2012, and particle fluxes for a wide range of ion species (up to several hundred MeV/u) and high energy neutrons (8 - 1000 MeV) have been available for the first 200 sols. Although the data obtained on the surface of Mars for 200 sols are limited in the narrow energy spectra, the simulation results using the Badhwar-O'Neill galactic cosmic ray (GCR) environment model and the high-charge and energy transport (HZETRN) code are compared to the data. For the nuclear interactions of primary GCR through Mars atmosphere and Curiosity rover, the quantum multiple scattering theory of nuclear fragmentation (QMSFRG) is used, which includes direct knockout, evaporation and nuclear coalescence. Daily atmospheric pressure measurements at Gale Crater by the MSL Rover Environmental Monitoring Station are implemented into transport calculations for describing the daily column depth of atmosphere. Particles impinging on top of the Martian atmosphere reach the RAD after traversing varying depths of atmosphere that depend on the slant angles, and the model accounts for shielding of the RAD by the rest of the instrument. Calculations of stopping particle spectra are in good agreement with the RAD measurements for the first 200 sols by accounting changing heliospheric conditions and atmospheric pressure. Detailed comparisons between model predictions and spectral data of various particle types provide the validation of radiation transport models, and thus increase the accuracy of the predictions of future radiation environments on Mars. These contributions lend support to the understanding of radiation health risks to

  20. Measurements of the neutron spectrum in transit to Mars on the Mars Science Laboratory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Köhler, J; Ehresmann, B; Zeitlin, C; Wimmer-Schweingruber, R F; Hassler, D M; Reitz, G; Brinza, D E; Appel, J; Böttcher, S; Böhm, E; Burmeister, S; Guo, J; Lohf, H; Martin, C; Posner, A; Rafkin, S

    2015-04-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, containing the Curiosity rover, was launched to Mars on 26 November 2011. Although designed for measuring the radiation on the surface of Mars, the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) measured the radiation environment inside the spacecraft during most of the 253-day, 560-million-kilometer cruise to Mars. An important factor for determining the biological impact of the radiation environment inside the spacecraft is the specific contribution of neutrons with their high biological effectiveness. We apply an inversion method (based on a maximum-likelihood estimation) to calculate the neutron and gamma spectra from the RAD neutral particle measurements. The measured neutron spectrum (12-436 MeV) translates into a radiation dose rate of 3.8±1.2 μGy/day and a dose equivalent of 19±5 μSv/day. Extrapolating the measured spectrum (0.1-1000 MeV), we find that the total neutron-induced dose rate is 6±2 μGy/day and the dose equivalent rate is 30±10 μSv/day. For a 360 day round-trip from Earth to Mars with comparable shielding, this translates into a neutron induced dose equivalent of about 11±4 mSv.

  1. The Epistemic Value of Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmitt, Frederick F.; Lahroodi, Reza

    2008-01-01

    In this essay, Frederick Schmitt and Reza Lahroodi explore the value of curiosity for inquiry and knowledge. They defend an appetitive account of curiosity, viewing curiosity as a motivationally original desire to know that arises from having one's attention drawn to the object and that in turn sustains one's attention to it. Distinguishing…

  2. Mars

    CERN Document Server

    Day, Trevor

    2006-01-01

    Discusses the fundamental facts concerning this mysterious planet, including its mass, size, and atmosphere, as well as the various missions that helped planetary scientists document the geological history of Mars. This volume also describes Mars'' seasons with their surface effects on the planet and how they have changed over time.

  3. Compassion and Curiosity - TCGA

    Science.gov (United States)

    William Kim, M.D., is motivated by two things: compassion and curiosity. Dr. Kim has taken these dual motivations and created a career in which he cares directly for patients and spearheads research that may lead to improved treatment options.

  4. Celebrate Mathematical Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Redford, Christine

    2011-01-01

    Children's mathematical questions are often based in real-world experiences, as they instinctively make connections to the world around them. In teaching math methods courses, this author recently started to emphasize the importance of fostering curiosity in, and activating the thinking of, the students. In this article, she describes how to tap…

  5. Curiosity + Kindergarten = Future Scientists

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flannagan, Jenny Sue; Rockenbaugh, Liesl

    2010-01-01

    Carefully crafted experiences in the early childhood classroom can create learning opportunities for children that allow one curiosity to lead to another. Learning how to find out answers to fascinating questions is what science is all about. In fact, it can be as simple as learning how an ordinary egg can be changed. For the past year, the…

  6. The meteorology of Gale Crater as determined from Rover Environmental Monitoring Station observations and numerical modeling. Part II: Interpretation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rafkin, Scot C. R.; Pla-Garcia, Jorge; Kahre, Melinda; Gomez-Elvira, Javier; Hamilton, Victoria E.; Marín, Mercedes; Navarro, Sara; Torres, Josefina; Vasavada, Ashwin

    2016-12-01

    Numerical modeling results from the Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System are used to interpret the landed meteorological data from the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station onboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity. In order to characterize seasonal changes throughout the Martian year, simulations are conducted at Ls 0, 90, 180 and 270. Two additional simulations at Ls 225 and 315 are explored to better understand the unique meteorological setting centered on Ls 270. The synergistic combination of model and observations reveals a complex meteorological environment within the crater. Seasonal planetary circulations, the thermal tide, slope flows along the topographic dichotomy, mesoscale waves, slope flows along the crater slopes and Mt. Sharp, and turbulent motions all interact in nonlinear ways to produce the observed weather. Ls 270 is shown to be an anomalous season when air within and outside the crater is well mixed by strong, flushing northerly flow and large amplitude, breaking mountain waves. At other seasons, the air in the crater is more isolated from the surrounding environment. The potential impact of the partially isolated crater air mass on the dust, water, noncondensable and methane cycles is also considered. In contrast to previous studies, the large amplitude diurnal pressure signal is attributed primarily to necessary hydrostatic adjustments associated with topography of different elevations, with contributions of less than 25% to the diurnal amplitude from the crater circulation itself. The crater circulation is shown to induce a suppressed boundary layer.

  7. Determining best practices in reconnoitering sites for habitability potential on Mars using a semi-autonomous rover: A GeoHeuristic Operational Strategies Test

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yingst, R. A.; Berger, J.; Cohen, B. A.; Hynek, B.; Schmidt, M. E.

    2017-03-01

    We tested science operations strategies developed for use in remote mobile spacecraft missions, to determine whether reconnoitering a site of potential habitability prior to in-depth study (a walkabout-first strategy) can be a more efficient use of time and resources than the linear approach commonly used by planetary rover missions. Two field teams studied a sedimentary sequence in Utah to assess habitability potential. At each site one team commanded a human "rover" to execute observations and conducted data analysis and made follow-on decisions based solely on those observations. Another team followed the same traverse using traditional terrestrial field methods, and the results of the two teams were compared. Test results indicate that for a mission with goals similar to our field case, the walkabout-first strategy may save time and other mission resources, while improving science return. The approach enabled more informed choices and higher team confidence in choosing where to spend time and other consumable resources. The walkabout strategy may prove most efficient when many close sites must be triaged to a smaller subset for detailed study or sampling. This situation would arise when mission goals include finding, identifying, characterizing or sampling a specific material, feature or type of environment within a certain area.

  8. Mimicking Mars: a vacuum simulation chamber for testing environmental instrumentation for Mars exploration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sobrado, J M; Martín-Soler, J; Martín-Gago, J A

    2014-03-01

    We have built a Mars environmental simulation chamber, designed to test new electromechanical devices and instruments that could be used in space missions. We have developed this environmental system aiming at validating the meteorological station Rover Environment Monitoring Station of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission currently installed on Curiosity rover. The vacuum chamber has been built following a modular configuration and operates at pressures ranging from 1000 to 10(-6) mbars, and it is possible to control the gas composition (the atmosphere) within this pressure range. The device (or sample) under study can be irradiated by an ultraviolet source and its temperature can be controlled in the range from 108 to 423 K. As an important improvement with respect to other simulation chambers, the atmospheric gas into the experimental chamber is cooled at the walls by the use of liquid-nitrogen heat exchangers. This chamber incorporates a dust generation mechanism designed to study Martian-dust deposition while modifying the conditions of temperature, and UV irradiated.

  9. Mimicking Mars: A vacuum simulation chamber for testing environmental instrumentation for Mars exploration

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sobrado, J. M., E-mail: sobradovj@inta.es; Martín-Soler, J. [Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), INTA-CSIC, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid (Spain); Martín-Gago, J. A. [Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), INTA-CSIC, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid (Spain); Instituto de Ciencias de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM-CSIC), Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)

    2014-03-15

    We have built a Mars environmental simulation chamber, designed to test new electromechanical devices and instruments that could be used in space missions. We have developed this environmental system aiming at validating the meteorological station Rover Environment Monitoring Station of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission currently installed on Curiosity rover. The vacuum chamber has been built following a modular configuration and operates at pressures ranging from 1000 to 10{sup −6} mbars, and it is possible to control the gas composition (the atmosphere) within this pressure range. The device (or sample) under study can be irradiated by an ultraviolet source and its temperature can be controlled in the range from 108 to 423 K. As an important improvement with respect to other simulation chambers, the atmospheric gas into the experimental chamber is cooled at the walls by the use of liquid-nitrogen heat exchangers. This chamber incorporates a dust generation mechanism designed to study Martian-dust deposition while modifying the conditions of temperature, and UV irradiated.

  10. Mars Pathfinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murdin, P.

    2000-11-01

    First of NASA's Discovery missions. Launched in December 1996 and arrived at Mars on 4 July 1997. Mainly intended as a technology demonstration mission. Used airbags to cushion the landing on Mars. The Carl Sagan Memorial station returned images of an ancient flood plain in Ares Vallis. The 10 kg Sojourner rover used an x-ray spectrometer to study the composition of rocks and travelled about 100 ...

  11. Monitoring the Heliospheric Conditions at Mars Using MSL/RAD Measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, J.; Wimmer-Schweingruber, R. F.; Zeitlin, C. J.; Rafkin, S. C.; Hassler, D.; Posner, A.

    2015-12-01

    The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), on board Mars Science Laboratory's (MSL) rover Curiosity, measures the radiation dose rate as well as the energy spectra of energetic charged and neutral particles at the surface of Mars. With these first-ever measurements of GCR fluxes on the Martian surface, RAD can be used as a monitor for heliospheric modulation at Mars location, similar to neutron monitors at Earth. We do this by first correlating the GCR dose rate measurements at Mars and solar modulations at Earth when there is a good magnetic connection between the two planets. With the thus obtained correlation we obtain an empirical function for the dependence of the modulation parameter at Mars on RAD dose rate. This function can in turn help to calibrate the heliospheric modulation at Mars throughout the MSL/RAD mission period. The resulting solar modulation at Mars and at Earth over three years (>1000 sols) is then compared. In order to verify our 'prediction' method, we use the local modulation parameter at Mars as an input for Badhwar O'Neil model providing the primary spectra for PLANETOCOSMIC simulations which eventually model the surface particle spectra that can be compared with RAD measurements of the spectra.

  12. Curiosity-Aware Bargaining

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    International audience; Opponent modeling consists in modeling the strategy or preferences of an agent thanks to the data it provides. In the context of automated negotiation and with machine learning, it can result in an advantage so overwhelming that it may restrain some casual agents to be part of the bargaining process. We qualify as " curious " an agent driven by the desire of negotiating in order to collect information and improve its opponent model. However, neither curiosity-based rat...

  13. Curiosity and Languages

    OpenAIRE

    2011-01-01

    International audience; The morphogenesis of behavioral and cognitive structures, which may be observed, for example, in human children during their first years of life--becoming acquainted with their bodies, with their environment and the first rudiments of language--is the focus of my scientific work. In fact, that is what led me, out of curiosity, into research. I came to this field, which would seem to be situated between the social sciences and the life sciences, in a rather unorthodox w...

  14. Curiosities of the sky

    CERN Document Server

    Serviss, Garrett P

    2015-01-01

    Curiosities of the Sky is a newly annotated edition of the 1909 popular astronomy classic. All of the original text, photographs and diagrams are preserved, and new text added providing updates in the progress of astronomy since the book was first published. Garrett Serviss wrote with a firm understanding of the science of the period. He was also graced with a delightful imagination and unequaled power of poetic expression in describing the wonders and mysteries of the universe.

  15. Loss, yearning and curiosity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dariusz Sośnicki

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available In his piece, the author of the article ponders on the experience of loss in human life. It is this particular experience, as well as the accompanying longing, that form the basic components of an elegiac attitude. However, in its broader sense, loss becomes one of the most universal experiences in literature and the arts of the twentieth century. After all, they shared the conviction that reality, no matter how looked upon, was never fully accessible to us and that man always played a losing game with it. Contrary to outward appearances, the above also applies to the creators of avant-garde movements. An analysis of the poem Do NN***, written by Miron Białoszewski, carried out first within the context of elegy and then with reference to the techniques and the program of cubism, makes us aware that Białoszewski somehow evades both elegiac mood and the avant-garde principles such as they are underlined in its program. The driving force for his writing is then curiosity. And it is curiosity, and just curiosity, independent and one that cannot be reduced to just the desire to know, that forms the only real alternative that, in a way, always remains metaphysical.

  16. Zephyr: A Landsailing Rover for Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landis, Geoffrey A.; Oleson, Steven R.; Grantier, David

    2014-01-01

    With an average temperature of 450C and a corrosive atmosphere at a pressure of 90 bars, the surface of Venus is the most hostile environment of any planetary surface in the solar system. Exploring the surface of Venus would be an exciting goal, since Venus is a planet with significant scientific mysteries, and interesting geology and geophysics. Technology to operate at the environmental conditions of Venus is under development. A rover on the surface of Venus with capability comparable to the rovers that have been sent to Mars would push the limits of technology in high-temperature electronics, robotics, and robust systems. Such a rover would require the ability to traverse the landscape on extremely low power levels. We have analyzed an innovative concept for a planetary rover: a sail-propelled rover to explore the surface of Venus. Such a rover can be implemented with only two moving parts; the sail, and the steering. Although the surface wind speeds are low (under 1 m/s), at Venus atmospheric density even low wind speeds develop significant force. Under funding by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts office, a conceptual design for such a rover has been done. Total landed mass of the system is 265 kg, somewhat less than that of the MER rovers, with a 12 square meter rigid sail. The rover folds into a 3.6 meter aeroshell for entry into the Venus atmosphere and subsequent parachute landing on the surface. Conceptual designs for a set of hightemperature scientific instruments and a UHF communication system were done. The mission design lifetime is 50 days, allowing operation during the sunlit portion of one Venus day. Although some technology development is needed to bring the high-temperature electronics to operational readiness, the study showed that such a mobility approach is feasible, and no major difficulties are seen.

  17. Rover Attitude and Pointing System Simulation Testbed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vanelli, Charles A.; Grinblat, Jonathan F.; Sirlin, Samuel W.; Pfister, Sam

    2009-01-01

    The MER (Mars Exploration Rover) Attitude and Pointing System Simulation Testbed Environment (RAPSSTER) provides a simulation platform used for the development and test of GNC (guidance, navigation, and control) flight algorithm designs for the Mars rovers, which was specifically tailored to the MERs, but has since been used in the development of rover algorithms for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) as well. The software provides an integrated simulation and software testbed environment for the development of Mars rover attitude and pointing flight software. It provides an environment that is able to run the MER GNC flight software directly (as opposed to running an algorithmic model of the MER GNC flight code). This improves simulation fidelity and confidence in the results. Further more, the simulation environment allows the user to single step through its execution, pausing, and restarting at will. The system also provides for the introduction of simulated faults specific to Mars rover environments that cannot be replicated in other testbed platforms, to stress test the GNC flight algorithms under examination. The software provides facilities to do these stress tests in ways that cannot be done in the real-time flight system testbeds, such as time-jumping (both forwards and backwards), and introduction of simulated actuator faults that would be difficult, expensive, and/or destructive to implement in the real-time testbeds. Actual flight-quality codes can be incorporated back into the development-test suite of GNC developers, closing the loop between the GNC developers and the flight software developers. The software provides fully automated scripting, allowing multiple tests to be run with varying parameters, without human supervision.

  18. In situ measurement of atmospheric krypton and xenon on Mars with Mars Science Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrad, P. G.; Malespin, C. A.; Franz, H. B.; Pepin, R. O.; Trainer, M. G.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Atreya, S. K.; Freissinet, C.; Jones, J. H.; Manning, H.; Owen, T.; Pavlov, A. A.; Wiens, R. C.; Wong, M. H.; Mahaffy, P. R.

    2016-11-01

    Mars Science Laboratory's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation has measured all of the stable isotopes of the heavy noble gases krypton and xenon in the martian atmosphere, in situ, from the Curiosity Rover at Gale Crater, Mars. Previous knowledge of martian atmospheric krypton and xenon isotope ratios has been based upon a combination of the Viking mission's krypton and xenon detections and measurements of noble gas isotope ratios in martian meteorites. However, the meteorite measurements reveal an impure mixture of atmospheric, mantle, and spallation contributions. The xenon and krypton isotopic measurements reported here include the complete set of stable isotopes, unmeasured by Viking. The new results generally agree with Mars meteorite measurements but also provide a unique opportunity to identify various non-atmospheric heavy noble gas components in the meteorites. Kr isotopic measurements define a solar-like atmospheric composition, but deviating from the solar wind pattern at 80Kr and 82Kr in a manner consistent with contributions originating from neutron capture in Br. The Xe measurements suggest an intriguing possibility that isotopes lighter than 132Xe have been enriched to varying degrees by spallation and neutron capture products degassed to the atmosphere from the regolith, and a model is constructed to explore this possibility. Such a spallation component, however, is not apparent in atmospheric Xe trapped in the glassy phases of martian meteorites.

  19. Bringing Terramechanics to bear on Planetary Rover Design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richter, L.

    2007-08-01

    Thus far, planetary rovers have been successfully operated on the Earth's moon and on Mars. In particular, the two NASA Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) ,Spirit' and ,Opportunity' are still in sustained daily operations at two sites on Mars more than 3 years after landing there. Currently, several new planetary rover missions are in development targeting Mars (the US Mars Science Lab vehicle for launch in 2009 and ESA's ExoMars rover for launch in 2013), with lunar rover missions under study by China and Japan for launches around 2012. Moreover, the US Constellation program is preparing pre-development of lunar rovers for initially unmanned and, subsequently, human missions to the Moon with a corresponding team dedicated to mobility system development having been set up at the NASA Glenn Research Center. Given this dynamic environment, it was found timely to establish an expert group on off-the-road mobility as relevant for robotic vehicles that would involve individuals representing the various on-going efforts on the different continents. This was realized through the International Society of Terrain-Vehicle Systems (ISTVS), a research organisation devoted to terramechanics and to the ,science' of off-the-road vehicle development which as a result is just now establishing a Technical Group on Terrestrial and Planetary Rovers. Members represent space-related as well as military research institutes and universities from the US, Germany, Italy, and Japan. The group's charter for 2007 is to define its objectives, functions, organizational structure and recommended research objectives to support planetary rover design and development. Expected areas of activity of the ISTVS-sponsored group include: the problem of terrain specification for planetary rovers; identification of limitations in modelling of rover mobility; a survey of existing rover mobility testbeds; the consolidation of mobility predictive models and their state of validation; sensing and real

  20. Organic cleanliness of the Mars Science Laboratory sample transfer chain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blakkolb, B; Logan, C; Jandura, L; Okon, A; Anderson, M; Katz, I; Aveni, G; Brown, K; Chung, S; Ferraro, N; Limonadi, D; Melko, J; Mennella, J; Yavrouian, A

    2014-07-01

    One of the primary science goals of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover, Curiosity, is the detection of organics in Mars rock and regolith. To achieve this, the Curiosity rover includes a robotic sampling system that acquires rock and regolith samples and delivers it to the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the rover. In order to provide confidence that any significant organics detection result was Martian and not terrestrial in origin, a requirement was levied on the flight system (i.e., all sources minus the SAM instrument) to impart no more than 36 parts per billion (ppb by weight) of total reduced carbon terrestrial contamination to any sample transferred to the SAM instrument. This very clean level was achieved by a combination of a rigorous contamination control program on the project, and then using the first collected samples for a "dilution cleaning" campaign of the sample chain prior to delivering a sample to the SAM instrument. Direct cleanliness assays of the sample-contacting and other Flight System surfaces during pre-launch processing were used as inputs to determine the number of dilution cleaning samples needed once on Mars, to enable delivery of suitably clean samples to the SAM experiment. Taking into account contaminant redistribution during launch thorough landing of the MSL on Mars, the amount of residue present on the sampling hardware prior to the time of first dilution cleaning sample acquisition was estimated to be 60 ng/cm(2) on exposed outer surfaces of the sampling hardware and 20 ng/cm(2) on internal sample contacting surfaces; residues consisting mainly of aliphatic hydrocarbons and esters. After three dilution cleaning samples, estimated in-sample contamination level for the first regolith sample delivered to the SAM instrument at the Gale Crater "Rocknest" site was bounded at ≤10 ppb total organic carbon. A Project decision to forego ejecting the dilution cleaning sample and instead transfer the first drill

  1. Diagenetic Mineralogy at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaniman, David; Blake, David; Bristow, Thomas F.; Chipera, Steve; Gellert, Ralf; Ming, Douglas; Morris, Richard; Rampe, E. B.; Rapin, William

    2015-01-01

    Three years into exploration of sediments in Gale crater on Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has provided data on several modes and episodes of diagenetic mineral formation. Curiosity determines mineralogy principally by X-ray diffraction (XRD), but with supporting data from thermal-release profiles of volatiles, bulk chemistry, passive spectroscopy, and laser-induced breakdown spectra of targeted spots. Mudstones at Yellowknife Bay, within the landing ellipse, contain approximately 20% phyllosilicate that we interpret as authigenic smectite formed by basalt weathering in relatively dilute water, with associated formation of authigenic magnetite as in experiments by Tosca and Hurowitz [Goldschmidt 2014]. Varied interlayer spacing of the smectite, collapsed at approximately 10 A or expanded at approximately 13.2 A, is evidence of localized diagenesis that may include partial intercalation of metal-hydroxyl groups in the approximately 13.2 A material. Subsequent sampling of stratigraphically higher Windjana sandstone revealed sediment with multiple sources, possible concentration of detrital magnetite, and minimal abundance of diagenetic minerals. Most recent sampling has been of lower strata at Mount Sharp, where diagenesis is widespread and varied. Here XRD shows that hematite first becomes abundant and products of diagenesis include jarosite and cristobalite. In addition, bulk chemistry identifies Mg-sulfate concretions that may be amorphous or crystalline. Throughout Curiosity's traverse, later diagenetic fractures (and rarer nodules) of mm to dm scale are common and surprisingly constant and simple in Ca-sulfate composition. Other sulfates (Mg,Fe) appear to be absent in this later diagenetic cycle, and circumneutral solutions are indicated. Equally surprising is the rarity of gypsum and common occurrence of bassanite and anhydrite. Bassanite, rare on Earth, plays a major role at this location on Mars. Dehydration of gypsum to bassanite in the

  2. Mineralogy of Mudstone at Gale Crater, Mars: Evidence for Dynamic Lacustrine Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rampe, E. B.; Ming, D. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Morris, R. V.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Bristow, T. F.; Yen, A. S.; Chipera, S. J.; Morrison, S. M.; Downs, R. T.; Achilles, C. N.; Peretyazhko, T. S.; Treiman, A. H.; Craig, P. I.; Farmer, J. D.; Des Marais, D. J.; Fairen, A. G.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater in August 2012 to assess the habitability of sedimentary deposits that show orbital evidence for diverse ancient aqueous environments. Gale crater contains a 5 km high mound of layered sedimentary rocks in its center, informally named Mount Sharp. The lowermost rocks of Mount Sharp contain minerals that are consistent with a dramatic climate change during Mars' early history. During the rover's traverse across the Gale crater plains to the base of Mount Sharp, Curiosity discovered sedimentary rocks consistent with a fluviolacustrine sequence. Curiosity studied ancient lacustrine deposits at Yellowknife Bay on the plains of Gale crater and continues to study ancient lacustrine deposits in the Murray formation, the lowermost unit of Mount Sharp. These investigations include drilling into the mudstone and delivering the sieved less than 150 micrometers fraction to the CheMin XRD/XRF instrument inside the rover. Rietveld refinement of XRD patterns measured by CheMin generates mineral abundances with a detection limit of 1-2 wt.% and refined unit-cell parameters of minerals present in abundances greater than approximately 5 wt.%. FULLPAT analyses of CheMin XRD patterns provide the abundance of X-ray amorphous materials and constrain the identity of these phases (e.g., opal-A vs. opal-CT). At the time of writing, CheMin has analyzed 14 samples, seven of which were drilled from lacustrine deposits. The mineralogy from CheMin, combined with in-situ geochemical measurements and sedimentological observations, suggest an evolution in the lake waters through time, including changes in pH and salinity and transitions between oxic and anoxic conditions. In addition to a geochemically dynamic lake environment, the igneous minerals discovered in the lake sediments indicate changes in source region through time, with input from mafic and silicic igneous sources. The Murray formation is predominantly comprised of

  3. Accuracy Analysis and Validation of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Robotic Arm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Collins, Curtis L.; Robinson, Matthew L.

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover is currently exploring the surface of Mars with a suite of tools and instruments mounted to the end of a five degree-of-freedom robotic arm. To verify and meet a set of end-to-end system level accuracy requirements, a detailed positioning uncertainty model of the arm was developed and exercised over the arm operational workspace. Error sources at each link in the arm kinematic chain were estimated and their effects propagated to the tool frames.A rigorous test and measurement program was developed and implemented to collect data to characterize and calibrate the kinematic and stiffness parameters of the arm. Numerous absolute and relative accuracy and repeatability requirements were validated with a combination of analysis and test data extrapolated to the Mars gravity and thermal environment. Initial results of arm accuracy and repeatability on Mars demonstrate the effectiveness of the modeling and test program as the rover continues to explore the foothills of Mount Sharp.

  4. Mars Science Laboratory Planetary Protection Status

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benardini, James; La Duc, Myron; Naviaux, Keith; Samuels, Jessica

    With over 500 sols of surface operations, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover has trekked over 5km. A key finding along this journey thus far, is that water molecules are bound to fine-grained soil particles, accounting for about 2 percent of the particles' weight at Gale Crater where Curiosity landed. There is no concern to planetary protection as the finding resulted directly from SAM baking (100-835°C) out the soil for analysis. Over that temperature range, OH and/or H2O was released, which was bound in amorphous phases. MSL has completed an approved Post-Launch Report. The Project continues to be in compliance with planetary protection requirements as Curiosity continues its exploration and scientific discoveries there is no evidence suggesting the presence of a special region. There is no spacecraft induced special region and no currently flowing liquid. All systems of interest to planetary protection are functioning nominally. The project has submitted an extended mission request to the NASA PPO. The status of the PP activities will be reported.

  5. Elemental geochemistry of sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLennan, S M; Anderson, R B; Bell, J F; Bridges, J C; Calef, F; Campbell, J L; Clark, B C; Clegg, S; Conrad, P; Cousin, A; Des Marais, D J; Dromart, G; Dyar, M D; Edgar, L A; Ehlmann, B L; Fabre, C; Forni, O; Gasnault, O; Gellert, R; Gordon, S; Grant, J A; Grotzinger, J P; Gupta, S; Herkenhoff, K E; Hurowitz, J A; King, P L; Le Mouélic, S; Leshin, L A; Léveillé, R; Lewis, K W; Mangold, N; Maurice, S; Ming, D W; Morris, R V; Nachon, M; Newsom, H E; Ollila, A M; Perrett, G M; Rice, M S; Schmidt, M E; Schwenzer, S P; Stack, K; Stolper, E M; Sumner, D Y; Treiman, A H; VanBommel, S; Vaniman, D T; Vasavada, A; Wiens, R C; Yingst, R A

    2014-01-24

    Sedimentary rocks examined by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay, Mars, were derived from sources that evolved from an approximately average martian crustal composition to one influenced by alkaline basalts. No evidence of chemical weathering is preserved, indicating arid, possibly cold, paleoclimates and rapid erosion and deposition. The absence of predicted geochemical variations indicates that magnetite and phyllosilicates formed by diagenesis under low-temperature, circumneutral pH, rock-dominated aqueous conditions. Analyses of diagenetic features (including concretions, raised ridges, and fractures) at high spatial resolution indicate that they are composed of iron- and halogen-rich components, magnesium-iron-chlorine-rich components, and hydrated calcium sulfates, respectively. Composition of a cross-cutting dike-like feature is consistent with sedimentary intrusion. The geochemistry of these sedimentary rocks provides further evidence for diverse depositional and diagenetic sedimentary environments during the early history of Mars.

  6. X-ray diffraction results from Mars Science Laboratory: mineralogy of Rocknest at Gale crater.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bish, D L; Blake, D F; Vaniman, D T; Chipera, S J; Morris, R V; Ming, D W; Treiman, A H; Sarrazin, P; Morrison, S M; Downs, R T; Achilles, C N; Yen, A S; Bristow, T F; Crisp, J A; Morookian, J M; Farmer, J D; Rampe, E B; Stolper, E M; Spanovich, N

    2013-09-27

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity scooped samples of soil from the Rocknest aeolian bedform in Gale crater. Analysis of the soil with the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) x-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument revealed plagioclase (~An57), forsteritic olivine (~Fo62), augite, and pigeonite, with minor K-feldspar, magnetite, quartz, anhydrite, hematite, and ilmenite. The minor phases are present at, or near, detection limits. The soil also contains 27 ± 14 weight percent x-ray amorphous material, likely containing multiple Fe(3+)- and volatile-bearing phases, including possibly a substance resembling hisingerite. The crystalline component is similar to the normative mineralogy of certain basaltic rocks from Gusev crater on Mars and of martian basaltic meteorites. The amorphous component is similar to that found on Earth in places such as soils on the Mauna Kea volcano, Hawaii.

  7. Confidence Hills Mineralogy and Chemin Results from Base of Mt. Sharp, Pahrump Hills, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cavanagh, P. D.; Bish, D. L.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Morris, R. V.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Achilles, C. N.; Chipera, S. J.; Treiman, A. H.; hide

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity recently completed its fourth drill sampling of sediments on Mars. The Confidence Hills (CH) sample was drilled from a rock located in the Pahrump Hills region at the base of Mt. Sharp in Gale Crater. The CheMin X-ray diffractometer completed five nights of analysis on the sample, more than previously executed for a drill sample, and the data have been analyzed using Rietveld refinement and full-pattern fitting to determine quantitative mineralogy. Confidence Hills mineralogy has several important characteristics: 1) abundant hematite and lesser magnetite; 2) a 10 angstrom phyllosilicate; 3) multiple feldspars including plagioclase and alkali feldspar; 4) mafic silicates including forsterite, orthopyroxene, and two types of clinopyroxene (Ca-rich and Ca-poor), consistent with a basaltic source; and 5) minor contributions from sulfur-bearing species including jarosite.

  8. Experimental Alteration of Basalt to Support Interpretation of Remote Sensing and In Situ Meausrements from Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, M. S.

    2014-01-01

    Major occurrences of hydrous alteration minerals on Mars have been found in Noachian impact craters formed in basaltic targets and detected using visible/near infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy. Until recently phyllosilicates were detected only in craters in the southern hemisphere [1, 2]. However, it has been reported that at least nine craters in the northern plains apparently excavated thick layers of lava and sediment to expose phyllosilicates [3] as well. The MER (Mars Exploration Rovers) rovers previously reported results of in situ measurement indicating the presence of alteration minerals on Mars [4,5] and it was recently reported that the Mars Curiosity rover has detected alteration phases in situ at Yellowknife Bay in Gale crater as well [6,7]. An important discovery for Mars geochronology is that the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) x-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument on Curiosity detected phyllosilicates indicating that phyllosilicate formation on Mars extended beyond the Noachian Epoch [8]. These discoveries indicate that Mars was globally altered by water in the past but does not constrain formation conditions for alteration phase occurrences, which have important implications for the evolution of the surface and the biological potential on Mars. Understanding the alteration assemblages produced by a range of conditions is vital for the interpretation of phyllosilicate spectral signatures as well as in situ measurements and to decipher the environment and evolution of early Mars. The martian surface has been intensely altered by meteorite impacts whose effects include brecciation and melting of target materials as well as the initiation of hydrothermal circulation in a hydrous target [9,10,11,12]. Impact effects may facilitate aqueous alteration of a basaltic target because the rate of silicate dissolution is a function of the degree of crystallinity, surface area, and temperature. The resultant alteration mineralogies from shocked basaltic target material

  9. "Measurements of the neutron spectrum in transit to Mars on the Mars Science Laboratory", Köhler et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Jack

    2015-04-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft carried the Curiosity rover to Mars. While the dramatic, successful landing of Curiosity and its subsequent exploration of the Martian surface have justifiably generated great excitement, from the standpoint of the health of crewmembers on missions to Mars, knowledge of the environment between Earth and Mars is critical. This paper reports data taken during the cruise phase of the MSL by the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD). The results are of great interest for several reasons. They are a direct measurement of the radiation environment during what will be a significant fraction of the duration of a proposed human mission to Mars; they were made behind the de facto shielding provided by various spacecraft components; and, in particular, they are a measurement of the contribution to radiation dose by neutrons. The neutron environment inside spacecraft is produced primarily by galactic cosmic ray ions interacting in shielding materials, and given the high biological effectiveness of neutrons and the increased contribution of neutrons to dose with increased depth in shielding, accurate knowledge of the neutron energy spectrum behind shielding is vital. The results show a relatively modest contribution from neutrons and gammas compared to that from charged particles, but also a discrepancy in both dose and dose rate between the data and simulations. The failure of the calculations to accurately reproduce the data is significant, given that future manned spacecraft will be more heavily shielded (and thus produce more secondary neutrons) and that spacecraft design will rely on simulations and model calculations of radiation transport. The methodology of risk estimation continues to evolve, and incorporates our knowledge of both the physical and biological effects of radiation. The relatively large uncertainties in the biological data, and the difficulties in reducing those uncertainties, makes it all the more important to

  10. Chemical Evidence for Smectites and Zeolites on Mars: Criteria and Limitations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, B. C.; Ming, D.; Vaniman, D.; Wiens, R.; Gellert, R.; Bridges, J. C.; Morris, D.

    2014-01-01

    Aqueous alteration on Mars can produce a range of tell-tale secondary minerals [1]. Surface missions typically obtain detailed and highly localized element compositional information, but not always mineralogical information, whereas orbital missions deduce mineralogy from relatively high spatial resolution IR spectral mapping (decameters scale, for CRISM), but obtain element data only over much larger areas of martian terrain (200 km). Surface missions have also discovered several occurrences of major geochemical alteration of igneous precursors, for many of which elemental compositional is the only diagnostic information available. Many types of clays and zeolites have quasi-unique element profiles which may be used to implicate their presence. In some cases, one or more candidate minerals are sufficiently close in their component elements and their stoichiometry that ambiguity must remain, unless other constraints can be brought to bear. Geochemical characteristics of alteration products most likely on Mars can be compared to results from MER and MSL rover missions (e.g. Independence [4] and Esperance samples). These considerations are needed for MER Opportunity rover now that Mini-TES is no longer operational. It also has importance for exploration by the MSL Curiosity rover because inferences and deductions available from ChemCam (CCAM) remote LIBS and/or in situ x-ray fluorescence (APXS) can be used as indicators for triage to select materials to sample for limited-resource instruments, SAM and Chemin.

  11. MAHLI on Mars: lessons learned operating a geoscience camera on a landed payload robotic arm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aileen Yingst, R.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Kennedy, Megan R.; Krezoski, Gillian M.; McBride, Marie J.; Minitti, Michelle E.; Ravine, Michael A.; Williams, Rebecca M. E.

    2016-06-01

    The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) is a 2-megapixel, color camera with resolution as high as 13.9 µm pixel-1. MAHLI has operated successfully on the Martian surface for over 1150 Martian days (sols) aboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity. During that time MAHLI acquired images to support science and science-enabling activities, including rock and outcrop textural analysis; sand characterization to further the understanding of global sand properties and processes; support of other instrument observations; sample extraction site documentation; range-finding for arm and instrument placement; rover hardware and instrument monitoring and safety; terrain assessment; landscape geomorphology; and support of rover robotic arm commissioning. Operation of the instrument has demonstrated that imaging fully illuminated, dust-free targets yields the best results, with complementary information obtained from shadowed images. The light-emitting diodes (LEDs) allow satisfactory night imaging but do not improve daytime shadowed imaging. MAHLI's combination of fine-scale, science-driven resolution, RGB color, the ability to focus over a large range of distances, and relatively large field of view (FOV), have maximized the return of science and science-enabling observations given the MSL mission architecture and constraints.

  12. Powered Flight Design and Reconstructed Performance Summary for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sell, Steven; Chen, Allen; Davis, Jody; San Martin, Miguel; Serricchio, Frederick; Singh, Gurkirpal

    2013-01-01

    The Powered Flight segment of Mars Science Laboratory's (MSL) Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) system extends from backshell separation through landing. This segment is responsible for removing the final 0.1% of the kinetic energy dissipated during EDL and culminating with the successful touchdown of the rover on the surface of Mars. Many challenges exist in the Powered Flight segment: extraction of Powered Descent Vehicle from the backshell, performing a 300m divert maneuver to avoid the backshell and parachute, slowing the descent from 85 m/s to 0.75 m/s and successfully lowering the rover on a 7.5m bridle beneath the rocket-powered Descent Stage and gently placing it on the surface using the Sky Crane Maneuver. Finally, the nearly-spent Descent Stage must execute a Flyaway maneuver to ensure surface impact a safe distance from the Rover. This paper provides an overview of the powered flight design, key features, and event timeline. It also summarizes Curiosity's as flown performance on the night of August 5th as reconstructed by the flight team.

  13. The Curiosity Effect

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Kimberly Ennico

    2017-01-01

    This conference aims to improve how we learn through integrative project and discovery-based methods. My talk highlights areas in my experience as a scientist, and most recently working for our national space agency, NASA, where we work in teams with a "discovery-based" mindset. When you demonstrate broad curiosity, you become open to different viewpoints and ways to approach and manage situations. Sometimes working only from "what you have been trained to do" or "what you know" is not enough, especially when the rules may be changing. Increasing our openness in our learning, and sharing what we know, can lead to a more diverse and innovative community, solving problems in new ways, overcoming resistance to new ideas, and hopefully creating a dynamic and faring-forward society. Let us not kill curiosity, at any age, in any situation. Let us remind ourselves, at any time, in any circumstance, to continue to learn, to mentor, to stimulate, to engage and reconnect with that "open sense of possibility."

  14. Peeling Back the Layers of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    This is a 3-D model of the trench excavated by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on the 23rd day, or sol, of its mission. An oblique view of the trench from a bit above and to the right of the rover's right wheel is shown. The model was generated from images acquired by the rover's front hazard-avoidance cameras.

  15. Observations of rock spectral classes by the Opportunity rover's Pancam on northern Cape York and on Matijevic Hill, Endeavour Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farrand, W. H.; Bell, J. F.; Johnson, J. R.; Rice, M. S.; Jolliff, B. L.; Arvidson, R. E.

    2014-11-01

    The Opportunity rover's exploration of the portion of the rim of Endeavour crater known as Cape York included examination of the sulfate-bearing Grasberg formation and the Matijevic Hill region. Multispectral visible and near-infrared (VNIR) Pancam observations were used to characterize reflectance properties of rock units. Using spectral end-member detection and classification approaches including a principal components/n-dimensional visualization, automatic sequential maximum angle convex cone method, and classification through hierarchical clustering, six main spectral classes of rock surfaces were identified: light-toned veins, Grasberg fm., the smectite-bearing Matijevic formation, the hematitic "blueberry" spherules, resistant spherules within the Matijevic fm. dubbed "newberries," and the Shoemaker formation impact breccia. Some of these could be divided into spectral subclasses. There were three types of veins: veins in the bench unit of Cape York, thinner veins in the Matijevic fm., and boxwork pattern-forming veins. The bench unit veins had higher 535 nm band depths than the other two vein subclasses and a steeper 934 to 1009 nm slope. The Grasberg fm. has VNIR spectral features that are interpreted to indicate higher fractions of red hematite than in the sulfate-bearing Burns Fm. The Matijevic fm. includes both light-toned, fine-grained matrix, and dark-toned veneers. The latter has a weak near-infrared absorption band centered near 950 nm consistent with nontronite. Observations of Rock Abrasion Tool brushed and ground newberries indicated that cuttings from the RAT grind had a longer wavelength reflectance maximum and deeper 535 nm band depth, consistent with more oxidized materials. Greater oxidation of cementing materials in the newberries is consistent with a diagenetic concretion origin.

  16. Diagenesis Along Fractures in an Eolian Sandstone, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, D. W.; Yen, A. S.; Rampe, E. B.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Blake, D. F.; Bristow, T. F.; Chipera, S. J.; Downs, R.; Morris, R. V.; Morrison, S. M.; Vaniman, D. T.; Gellert, R.; Sutter, B.; Treiman, A. H.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has been exploring sedimentary deposits in Gale crater since August 2012. The rover has traversed up section through approx.100 m of sedimentary rocks deposited in fluvial, deltaic, lacustrine, and eolian environments (Bradbury group and overlying Mount Sharp group). The Stimson formation lies unconformable over a lacustrine mudstone at the base of the Mount Sharp group and has been interpreted to be a cross-bedded sandstone of lithified eolian dunes. Mineralogy of the unaltered Stimson sandstone consists of plagioclase feldspar, pyroxenes, and magnetite with minor abundances of hematite, and Ca-sulfates (anhydrite, bassanite). Unaltered sandstone has a composition similar to the average Mars crustal composition. Alteration "halos" occur adjacent to fractures in the Stimson. Fluids passing through these fractures have altered the chemistry and mineralogy of the sandstone. Silicon and S enrichments and depletions in Al, Fe, Mg, Na, K, Ni and Mn suggest aqueous alteration in an open hydrologic system. Mineralogy of the altered Stimson is dominated by Ca-sulfates, Si-rich X-ray amorphous materials along with plagioclase feldspar, magnetite, and pyroxenes, but less abundant in the altered compared to the unaltered Stimson sandstone and lower pyroxene/plagioclase feldspar. The mineralogy and geochemistry of the altered sandstone suggest a complicated history with several (many?) episodes of aqueous alteration under a variety of environmental conditions (e.g., acidic, alkaline).

  17. The first X-ray diffraction measurements on Mars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Bish

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available The Mars Science Laboratory landed in Gale crater on Mars in August 2012, and the Curiosity rover then began field studies on its drive toward Mount Sharp, a central peak made of ancient sediments. CheMin is one of ten instruments on or inside the rover, all designed to provide detailed information on the rocks, soils and atmosphere in this region. CheMin is a miniaturized X-ray diffraction/X-ray fluorescence (XRD/XRF instrument that uses transmission geometry with an energy-discriminating CCD detector. CheMin uses onboard standards for XRD and XRF calibration, and beryl:quartz mixtures constitute the primary XRD standards. Four samples have been analysed by CheMin, namely a soil sample, two samples drilled from mudstones and a sample drilled from a sandstone. Rietveld and full-pattern analysis of the XRD data reveal a complex mineralogy, with contributions from parent igneous rocks, amorphous components and several minerals relating to aqueous alteration. In particular, the mudstone samples all contain one or more phyllosilicates consistent with alteration in liquid water. In addition to quantitative mineralogy, Rietveld refinements also provide unit-cell parameters for the major phases, which can be used to infer the chemical compositions of individual minerals and, by difference, the composition of the amorphous component.

  18. 欧洲“火星快车”探测器自行底盘概念设计的启示%The concept design of the self-propelling chassis for European ExoMars rover

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    王宇燕

    2013-01-01

    通过对月球车和火星车的跟踪调研,重点介绍了俄罗斯所承担的欧洲空间局“火星快车”项目中火星车自行底盘概念的设计思想和具体实施情况.结合火星表面的复杂环境,研制方探讨了几种底盘结构设计方案,通过对比分析确立了6×6×4+4Ⅲ方案为优化方案;根据该优化方案研制的比例模型样机通过行走试验验证,结果表明自行底盘概念设计思想正确,有助于提高行星车在复杂地形中的运动能力、稳定性和可靠性.最后针对我国深空探测项目实施的需求,提出了拟开展工作建议.%This paper describes the conceptual design of the self propelling chassis developed by Russia for the ESA project ExoMars. In the context of the complex environment on the surface of the Mars, several design plans of the Mars probe chassis are discussed, among which the optimized plan of 6×6×4+4 Ⅲ is identified, that means four steering drives and four stepped-driven wheels-stepping device and balanced suspension. The scale model prototype developed according to the optimized plan was tested in the test field. The results show that the conceptual design of the self propelling chassis is correct, and can increase the mobility, stability and reliability of the planet rover. In the end, some proposals are put forward in light of implementing China's deep space exploration projects.

  19. Mars Sample Transfer Testbed (MSTT) Project

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The task will assess the requirements for a testbed to study the retrieval of a Mars sample cache from the Martian surface, or from a Mars caching rover, and...

  20. Zinc and germanium in the sedimentary rocks of Gale Crater on Mars indicate hydrothermal enrichment followed by diagenetic fractionation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, Jeff A.; Schmidt, Mariek E.; Gellert, Ralf; Boyd, Nicholas I.; Desouza, Elstan D.; Flemming, Roberta L.; Izawa, Matthew R. M.; Ming, Douglas W.; Perrett, Glynis M.; Rampe, Elizabeth B.; Thompson, Lucy M.; VanBommel, Scott J. V.; Yen, Albert S.

    2017-08-01

    Zinc and germanium enrichments have been discovered in sedimentary rocks in Gale Crater, Mars, by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the rover Curiosity. Concentrations of Zn (910 ± 840 ppm) and Ge (65 ± 58 ppm) are tens to hundreds of times greater than in Martian meteorites and estimates for average silicate Mars. Enrichments occur in diverse rocks including minimally to extensively altered basaltic and alkalic sedimentary rocks. The magnitude of the enrichments indicates hydrothermal fluids, but Curiosity has not discovered unambiguous hydrothermal mineral assemblages. We propose that Zn- and Ge-rich hydrothermal deposits in the source region were dispersed in siliciclastic sediments during transport into the crater. Subsequent diagenetic mobilization and fractionation of Zn and Ge is evident in a Zn-rich sandstone (Windjana; Zn 4000 ppm, Ge 85 ppm) and associated Cl-rich vein (Stephen; Zn 8000 ppm, Ge 60 ppm), in Ge-rich veins (Garden City; Zn 2200 ppm, Ge 650 ppm), and in silica-rich alteration haloes leached of Zn (30-200 ppm). In moderately to highly altered silica-rich rocks, Ge remained immobile relative to leached elements (Fe, Mn, Mg, and Ca), consistent with fluid interaction at pH ≪ 7. In contrast, crosscutting Ge-rich veins at Garden City suggest aqueous mobilization as Ge-F complexes at pH histories as Curiosity's traverse continues.

  1. Mars Science Laboratory Engineering Cameras

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maki, Justin N.; Thiessen, David L.; Pourangi, Ali M.; Kobzeff, Peter A.; Lee, Steven W.; Dingizian, Arsham; Schwochert, Mark A.

    2012-01-01

    NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover, which launched to Mars in 2011, is equipped with a set of 12 engineering cameras. These cameras are build-to-print copies of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) cameras, which were sent to Mars in 2003. The engineering cameras weigh less than 300 grams each and use less than 3 W of power. Images returned from the engineering cameras are used to navigate the rover on the Martian surface, deploy the rover robotic arm, and ingest samples into the rover sample processing system. The navigation cameras (Navcams) are mounted to a pan/tilt mast and have a 45-degree square field of view (FOV) with a pixel scale of 0.82 mrad/pixel. The hazard avoidance cameras (Haz - cams) are body-mounted to the rover chassis in the front and rear of the vehicle and have a 124-degree square FOV with a pixel scale of 2.1 mrad/pixel. All of the cameras utilize a frame-transfer CCD (charge-coupled device) with a 1024x1024 imaging region and red/near IR bandpass filters centered at 650 nm. The MSL engineering cameras are grouped into two sets of six: one set of cameras is connected to rover computer A and the other set is connected to rover computer B. The MSL rover carries 8 Hazcams and 4 Navcams.

  2. Risk-Aware Planetary Rover Operation: Autonomous Terrain Classification and Path Planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ono, Masahiro; Fuchs, Thoams J.; Steffy, Amanda; Maimone, Mark; Yen, Jeng

    2015-01-01

    Identifying and avoiding terrain hazards (e.g., soft soil and pointy embedded rocks) are crucial for the safety of planetary rovers. This paper presents a newly developed groundbased Mars rover operation tool that mitigates risks from terrain by automatically identifying hazards on the terrain, evaluating their risks, and suggesting operators safe paths options that avoids potential risks while achieving specified goals. The tool will bring benefits to rover operations by reducing operation cost, by reducing cognitive load of rover operators, by preventing human errors, and most importantly, by significantly reducing the risk of the loss of rovers.

  3. Mars Mission Surface Operation Simulation Testing of Lithium-Ion Batteries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smart, M. C.; Bugga, R.; Whitcanack, L. D.; Chin, K. B.; Davies, E. D.; Surampudi, S.

    2003-01-01

    The objectives of this program are to 1) Assess viability of using lithium-ion technology for future NASA applications, with emphasis upon Mars landers and rovers which will operate on the planetary surface; 2) Support the JPL 2003 Mars Exploration Rover program to assist in the delivery and testing of a 8 AHr Lithium-Ion battery (Lithion/Yardney) which will power the rover; 3) Demonstrate applicability of using lithium-ion technologyfor future Mars applications: Mars 09 Science Laboratory (Smart Lander) and Future Mars Surface Operations (General). Mission simulation testing was carried out for cells and batteries on the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander and the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover.

  4. FIDO Rover Retracted Arm and Camera

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    The Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover extends the large mast that carries its panoramic camera. The FIDO is being used in ongoing NASA field tests to simulate driving conditions on Mars. FIDO is controlled from the mission control room at JPL's Planetary Robotics Laboratory in Pasadena. FIDO uses a robot arm to manipulate science instruments and it has a new mini-corer or drill to extract and cache rock samples. Several camera systems onboard allow the rover to collect science and navigation images by remote-control. The rover is about the size of a coffee table and weighs as much as a St. Bernard, about 70 kilograms (150 pounds). It is approximately 85 centimeters (about 33 inches) wide, 105 centimeters (41 inches) long, and 55 centimeters (22 inches) high. The rover moves up to 300 meters an hour (less than a mile per hour) over smooth terrain, using its onboard stereo vision systems to detect and avoid obstacles as it travels 'on-the-fly.' During these tests, FIDO is powered by both solar panels that cover the top of the rover and by replaceable, rechargeable batteries.

  5. Adams-Based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Simulator - ARTEMIS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trease, Brian P.; Lindeman, Randel A.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Bennett, Keith; VanDyke, Lauren P.; Zhou, Feng; Iagnemma, Karl; Senatore, Carmine

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs), Spirit and Opportunity, far exceeded their original drive distance expectations and have traveled, at the time of this reporting, a combined 29 kilometers across the surface of Mars. The Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP), the current program used to plan drives for MERs, is only a kinematic simulator of rover movement. Therefore, rover response to various terrains and soil types cannot be modeled. Although sandbox experiments attempt to model rover-terrain interaction, these experiments are time-intensive and costly, and they cannot be used within the tactical timeline of rover driving. Imaging techniques and hazard avoidance features on MER help to prevent the rover from traveling over dangerous terrains, but mobility issues have shown that these methods are not always sufficient. ARTEMIS, a dynamic modeling tool for MER, allows planned drives to be simulated before commands are sent to the rover. The deformable soils component of this model allows rover-terrain interactions to be simulated to determine if a particular drive path would take the rover over terrain that would induce hazardous levels of slip or sink. When used in the rover drive planning process, dynamic modeling reduces the likelihood of future mobility issues because high-risk areas could be identified before drive commands are sent to the rover, and drives planned over these areas could be rerouted. The ARTEMIS software consists of several components. These include a preprocessor, Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), Adams rover model, wheel and soil parameter files, MSC Adams GUI (commercial), MSC Adams dynamics solver (commercial), terramechanics subroutines (FORTRAN), a contact detection engine, a soil modification engine, and output DEMs of deformed soil. The preprocessor is used to define the terrain (from a DEM) and define the soil parameters for the terrain file. The Adams rover model is placed in this terrain. Wheel and soil parameter files

  6. Rover Panorama from Sols 75 & 76

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    This Sojourner rover panorama from Sols 75 and 76 is the only true panorama product (as opposed to the normal 'tiled' full frames) produced by the rover. This panorama ranges from Big Crater on the left (about azimuth 160 degrees), past the Twin Peaks and almost all the way to the north horizon, for a swath of about 200 degrees in azimuth.Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

  7. Prolonged magmatic activity on Mars inferred from the detection of felsic rocks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wray, James J.; Hansen, Sarah T.; Dufek, Josef; Swayze, Scott L.; Murchie, Scott L.; Seelos, Frank P.; Skok, John R.; Irwin, Rossman P.; Ghiorso, Mark S.

    2013-01-01

    Rocks dominated by the silicate minerals quartz and feldspar are abundant in Earth’s upper continental crust. Yet felsic rocks have not been widely identified on Mars, a planet that seems to lack plate tectonics and the associated magmatic processes that can produce evolved siliceous melts on Earth. If Mars once had a feldspar-rich crust that crystallized from an early magma ocean such as that on the Moon, erosion, sedimentation and volcanism have erased any clear surface evidence for widespread felsic materials. Here we report near-infrared spectral evidence from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for felsic rocks in three geographically disparate locations on Mars. Spectral characteristics resemble those of feldspar-rich lunar anorthosites, but are accompanied by secondary alteration products (clay minerals). Thermodynamic phase equilibrium calculations demonstrate that fractional crystallization of magma compositionally similar to volcanic flows near one of the detection sites can yield residual melts with compositions consistent with our observations. In addition to an origin by significant magma evolution, the presence of felsic materials could also be explained by feldspar enrichment by fluvial weathering processes. Our finding of felsic materials in several locations on Mars suggests that similar observations by the Curiosity rover in Gale crater may be more widely applicable across the planet.

  8. Lessons learned from the Radiation measurements of the Mars Science Lab Radiation Assessment Detector (MSL-RAD)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reitz, Guenther; Ottolenghi, Andrea

    2016-07-01

    The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) was designed to characterize the radiation environment on the Mars surface and to contribute to an improved assessment of radiation risk for a future human mission to Mars. The flight was chosen to cover a period of solar maximum activity to allow besides the measurement of the galactic cosmic rays an intense study of exposures by solar particle events. The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft (MSL), containing the Curiosity rover, in which RAD was integrated, was launched to Mars on November 26, 2011. Although not part of the mission planning, RAD was operated already during the 253 day and 560 million km cruise to Mars and made the first time detailed measurements of a radiation environment comparable to that inside a future spacecraft carrying humans to Mars and in other deep space missions. Exactly 100 years after the discovery of cosmic rays on August 7, 1912 RAD makes the first observation of the radiation environment on the surface of another planet and is still gathering data until today. Meanwhile the maximum activity of the current solar cycle has been passed and the solar activity is decreasing. Unfortunately the present solar cycle was an unexpected weak cycle. As a matter of fact only very small solar particle events could be observed during the still ongoing RAD measurements. The paper highlights the achievements of RAD by presenting selected data measured during the cruise and on the Mars surface and describes its impact on predictive models for health risks of astronauts during space missions.

  9. The Case of Curiosity and the Night Sky: Relationship between Noctcaelador and Three Forms of Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, William E.; Daughtry, Don

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between noctcaelador (psychological attachment to the night sky) and curiosity. A measure of noctcaelador and three curiosity scales (perceptual curiosity, epistemic curiosity, and curiosity as a feeling of deprivation) were administered to 233 university students. Correlations indicated…

  10. Curiosity's traverse through the upper Murray formation (Gale crater): ground truth for orbital detections of Martian clay minerals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dehouck, Erwin; Carter, John; Gasnault, Olivier; Pinet, Patrick; Daydou, Yves; Gondet, Brigitte; Mangold, Nicolas; Johnson, Jeffrey; Arvidson, Raymond; Maurice, Sylvestre; Wiens, Roger

    2017-04-01

    Orbital observations from visible/near-infrared (VNIR) spectrometers have shown that hydrated clay minerals are widespread on the surface of Mars (e.g., Carter et al., JGR, 2013), but implications in terms of past environmental conditions are debated. In this context, in situ missions can play a crucial role by providing "ground truth" and detailed geological setting for orbital signatures. Since its landing in 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has found evidence for clay minerals in several sedimentary formations within Gale crater. The first clays were encountered at Yellowknife Bay, where results from the CheMin X-ray diffractometer (XRD) showed the presence of 20 wt% tri-octahedral, Fe/Mg-bearing smectites (Vaniman et al., Science, 2014). However, due to dust cover, this location lacks any signature of clay minerals in orbital VNIR observations. Smaller amounts of clay minerals were found later in the rover's traverse, but again at locations with no specific signature from orbit. More recently, Curiosity reached the upper Murray formation, a sedimentary layer consisting primarily of mudstones and belonging to the basal part of Aeolis Mons (or Mt Sharp), the central mound of Gale crater. There, for the first time, orbital signatures of clay minerals can be compared to laterally-equivalent samples that were analyzed by Curiosity's payload. Orbital VNIR spectra suggest the prevalence of di-octahedral, Al/Fe-bearing smectites, clearly distinct from the tri-octahedral, Fe/Mg-bearing species of Yellowknife Bay (Carter et al., LPSC, 2016). Preliminary results from XRD and EGA analyses performed by the CheMin and SAM instruments at Marimba, Quela and Sebina drill sites are broadly consistent with such interpretation. However, and perhaps unsurprisingly, in situ data show more complexity than orbital observations. In particular, in situ data suggest the possible presence of an illitic component as well as the possible co-existence of both di

  11. The MEDA's Radiometer TIRS for the MARS2020 Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pérez Izquierdo, Joel; Sebastián Martínez, Eduardo; Bravo, Andrés; Ferrándiz, Ricardo; Ramos, Miguel; Martínez, Germán; Rodríguez Manfredi, Jose Antonio

    2016-10-01

    The TIRS (Thermal InfraRed Sensor) instrument is one of the payloads of NASA MARS2020 mission, that is expected to take off in 2020, and is designed to operate for at least three Martian years on surface. The TIRS is part of the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA), formed for other environmental sensors, which will be placed in the MARS2020 Rover, and is been developing by the Spanish Center of Astrobiology (CAB).The main objectives of MEDA's Thermal InfraRed Sensor are:-Characterize the net radiative forcing (within 10%), and constrain the conductive forcing at the local surface and near-surface atmosphere.-Record the surface skin temperature and the UV-VIS-NIR irradiance solar flux at an accuracy of [10%] at full range of the atmosphere.TIRS design has heritage from GTS-REMS on the Mars Science Laboratory, in the Curiosity Rover. The aim of the instrument is to measure the radiative flux emitted from the Martian surface, sky and the CO2 atmosphere using five thermopiles sensors in four wavelength bands, model TS100 provided by IPHT (Institute of Photonic Technology, Jena, Germany). The TIRS has three downward pointing thermopiles to measure the IR fluxes emitted by the surface, separating brightness surface temperature from emissivity and surface reflected upward short wave radiation, using the thermopiles IR3 (0.3-3 µm), IR4 (6.5-inf µm), IR5 (8-14 µm). Additionally, it has two more thermopiles pointing to the sky, the thermopiles IR1 (6.5-inf µm) and IR2 (14.5-15.5 µm), which captures the downward fluxes of thermal infrared radiation and air temperature nearby the sensor.Thermopiles are accommodated inside a mechanical assembly that is designed to ensure a low thermal gradient. This assembly also accommodates a calibration plate, aimed to intercept part of the thermopiles FOV, and capable to do an in-flight recalibration.

  12. Mineral Trends in Early Hesperian Lacustrine Mudstone at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rampe, E. B.; Ming, D. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Morris, R. V.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Bristow, T. F.; Morrison, S. M.; Yen, A. S.; Chipera, S. J.; hide

    2017-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater in August 2012 to study the layered sediments of lower Aeolis Mons (i.e., Mount Sharp), which have signatures of phyllosilicates, hydrated sulfates, and iron oxides in orbital visible/near-infrared observations. The observed mineralogy within the stratigraphy, from phyllosilicates in lower units to sulfates in higher units, suggests an evolution in the environments in which these secondary phases formed. Curiosity is currently investigating the sedimentary structures, geochemistry, and mineralogy of the Murray formation, the lowest exposed unit of Mount Sharp. The Murray formation is dominated by laminated lacustrine mudstone and is approx.200 m thick. Curiosity previously investigated lacustrine mudstone early in the mission at Yellowknife Bay, which represents the lowest studied stratigraphic unit. Here, we present the minerals identified in lacus-trine mudstone from Yellowknife Bay and the Murray formation. We discuss trends in mineralogy within the stratigraphy and the implications for ancient lacustrine environments, diagenesis, and sediment sources.

  13. Climbing Mt. Sharp: Maximizing Curiosity's Science Over Traversable Terrains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fraeman, A. A.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bellutta, P.; Sletten, R. S.; Team, M.

    2013-12-01

    As Curiosity transitions from the plains of Gale Crater to the flanks of Mt. Sharp, the rover will begin to encounter material and terrains that could present greater mobility challenges. These challenges include the presence of significantly steeper slopes and large dunes that have the potential to embed the vehicle. Strategic path planning during this phase of the mission will therefore require carefully selecting a traversable route that is both time-efficient and that will provide access to the most scientifically rewarding targets. We consider possible solutions to this optimization problem by examining multiple orbital data sets in order to locate likely mobility hazards and to select potential science waypoints for future in situ investigation. High resolution HiRISE monochromatic images and digital elevation models show filled craters, rock fields, areas with slopes too steep for the rover to traverse, and other possible mobility obstacles on the northwest flank of Mt. Sharp. Using this context, we review accessibility to scientific targets on Mt. Sharp that have been previously discussed in landing site workshop presentations and peer-reviewed publications. Additionally, we identify new targets using detailed geologic maps combined with oversampled CRISM observations that provide mineralogical information at unprecedented high spatial resolutions (up to 6 m/pixel). For example, the spatially sharpened CRISM spectral data show a localized hematite deposit that is associated with the upper-most stratum of a ridge which is located ~3km from the rover's entry point to Mt. Sharp. This deposit may represent a previously habitable environment and is therefore a high priority target for in situ investigation. In order to study the hematite and also to eventually access the phyllosilicate-bearing trough that is located directly behind the ridge, Curiosity will have to cross this ridge, but the ridge edges are often defined by regions with slopes that are too steep

  14. Exploring Mars for Evidence of Habitable Environments and Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    DesMarais, David J.

    2014-01-01

    candidates. The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity revealed that water once flowed to the surface across the vast Meridiani plains, creating saline lakes whose waters were roiled by ancient winds that also sculptured their salt deposits into sand dunes. Opportunity then drove more than 30 km to explore even older deposits on a crater rim. MER Spirit found evidence that thermal waters (heated by volcanism or by impacts?) altered rocks to create sulfate salts, and siliceous sinters. These discoveries indicate that an early hydrological cycle apparently sustained precipitation, streams and lakes. Liquid water participated in rock weathering reactions, such as iron and sulfur oxidation, that created distinctive weathering regimes. Volcanism, impacts, groundwater and ice interacted at least locally. Redox chemical energy from volcanism, hydrothermal activity and weathering of crustal materials would have been available for any life. Thus conditions might have supported life in the past, at least locally. The main objective of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover is to determine the extent to which Gale crater hosted environments capable of supporting microbial life. The rover has already found stream gravels as well as sediments that might have been deposited in an ancient lake. The rover is now traversing to Mt. Sharp, a 5 km-high mound that is located on the crater floor and that exhibits layered sedimentary rocks having diverse minerals (sulfates and clays) that apparently formed in the presence of liquid water. This rock sequence was deposited over an extended time period in diverse potentially habitable watery environments. Curiosity is poised to characterize a a well-preserved rock record of hundreds of millions of years of diverse environments and profound climate change.

  15. Multispectral Imaging of Mars from the Mars Science Laboratory Mastcam Instruments: Spectral Properties and Mineralogic Implications Along the Gale Crater Traverse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, James F.; Wellington, Danika; Hardgrove, Craig; Godber, Austin; Rice, Melissa S.; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Fraeman, Abigail

    2016-10-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover Mastcam is a pair of multispectral CCD cameras that have been imaging the surface and atmosphere in three broadband visible RGB color channels as well as nine additional narrowband color channels between 400 and 1000 nm since the rover's landing in August 2012. As of Curiosity sol 1159 (the most recent PDS data release as of this writing), approximately 140 multispectral imaging targets have been imaged using all twelve unique bandpasses. Near-simultaneous imaging of an onboard calibration target allows rapid relative reflectance calibration of these data to radiance factor and estimated Lambert albedo, for direct comparison to lab reflectance spectra of rocks, minerals, and mixtures. Surface targets among this data set include a variety of outcrop and float rocks (some containing light-toned veins), unconsolidated pebbles and clasts, and loose sand and soil. Some of these targets have been brushed, scuffed, or otherwise disturbed by the rover in order to reveal the (less dusty) interiors of these materials, and those targets and each of Curiosity's drill holes and tailings piles have been specifically targeted for multispectral imaging.Analysis of the relative reflectance spectra of these materials, sometimes in concert with additional compositional and/or mineralogic information from Curiosity's ChemCam LIBS and passive-mode spectral data and CheMin XRD data, reveals the presence of relatively broad solid state crystal field and charge transfer absorption features characteristic of a variety of common iron-bearing phases, including hematite (both nanophase and crystalline), ferric sulfate, olivine, and pyroxene. In addition, Mastcam is sensitive to a weak hydration feature in the 900-1000 nm region that can provide insight on the hydration state of some of these phases, especially sulfates. Here we summarize the Mastcam multispectral data set and the major potential phase identifications made using that data set

  16. Student Participation in Rover Field Trials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowman, C. D.; Arvidson, R. E.; Nelson, S. V.; Sherman, D. M.; Squyres, S. W.

    2001-12-01

    The LAPIS program was developed in 1999 as part of the Athena Science Payload education and public outreach, funded by the JPL Mars Program Office. For the past three years, the Athena Science Team has been preparing for 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission operations using the JPL prototype Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover in extended rover field trials. Students and teachers participating in LAPIS work with them each year to develop a complementary mission plan and implement an actual portion of the annual tests using FIDO and its instruments. LAPIS is designed to mirror an end-to-end mission: Small, geographically distributed groups of students form an integrated mission team, working together with Athena Science Team members and FIDO engineers to plan, implement, and archive a two-day test mission, controlling FIDO remotely over the Internet using the Web Interface for Telescience (WITS) and communicating with each other by email, the web, and teleconferences. The overarching goal of LAPIS is to get students excited about science and related fields. The program provides students with the opportunity to apply knowledge learned in school, such as geometry and geology, to a "real world" situation and to explore careers in science and engineering through continuous one-on-one interactions with teachers, Athena Science Team mentors, and FIDO engineers. A secondary goal is to help students develop improved communication skills and appreciation of teamwork, enhanced problem-solving skills, and increased self-confidence. The LAPIS program will provide a model for outreach associated with future FIDO field trials and the 2003 Mars mission operations. The base of participation will be broadened beyond the original four sites by taking advantage of the wide geographic distribution of Athena team member locations. This will provide greater numbers of students with the opportunity to actively engage in rover testing and to explore the possibilities of

  17. Mineralogy of Rocks and Sediments at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Achilles, Cherie; Downs, Robert; Blake, David; Vaniman, David; Ming, Doug; Rampe, Elizabeth; Morris, Dick; Morrison, Shaunna; Treiman, Allan; Chipera, Steve; Yen, Albert; Bristow, Thomas; Craig, Patricia; Hazen, Robert; Crisp, Joy; Grotzinger, John; Des Marias, David; Farmer, Jack; Sarrazin, Philippe; Morookian, John Michael

    2017-04-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, is providing in situ mineralogical, geochemical, and sedimentological assessments of rocks and soils in Gale crater. Since landing in 2012, Curiosity has traveled over 15 km, providing analyses of mudstones and sandstones to build a stratigraphic history of the region. The CheMin X-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument is the first instrument on Mars to provide quantitative mineralogical analyses of drilled powders and scooped sediment based on X-ray crystallography. CheMin identifies and determines mineral abundances and unit-cell parameters of major crystalline phases, and identifies minor phases at abundances >1 wt%. In conjunction with elemental analyses, CheMin-derived crystal chemistry allows for the first calculations of crystalline and amorphous material compositions. These mineralogy, crystal chemistry, and amorphous chemistry datasets are playing central roles in the characterization of Gale crater paleoenvironments. CheMin has analyzed 17 rock and sediment samples. In the first phase of the mission, Curiosity explored the sedimentary units of Aeolis Palus (Bradbury group), including two mudstones from Yellowknife Bay. CheMin analyses of the Yellowknife Bay mudstones identified clay minerals among an overall basaltic mineral assemblage. These mineralogical results, along with imaging and geochemical analyses, were used to characterize an ancient lacustrine setting that is thought to have once been a habitable environment. Following the investigations of the Bradbury group, Curiosity arrived at the lower reaches of Aeolis Mons, commonly called Mt. Sharp. A strategic sample campaign was initiated, drilling bedrock at primary sandstone and show decreased abundances of feldspar and pyroxene, and an increase in the amorphous component, specifically high-silica phases. The Murray formation is the most sampled stratigraphic unit in Gale crater. Composed mainly of finely laminated mudstones and interpreted as lacustrine

  18. Scout Rover Applications for Forward Acquisition of Soil and Terrain Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonsalla, R.; Ahmed, M.; Fritsche, M.; Akpo, J.; Voegele, T.

    2014-04-01

    As opposed to the present mars exploration missions future mission concepts ask for a fast and safe traverse through vast and varied expanses of terrain. As seen during the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission the rovers suffered a lack of detailed soil and terrain information which caused Spirit to get permanently stuck in soft soil. The goal of the FASTER1 EU-FP7 project is to improve the mission safety and the effective traverse speed for planetary rover exploration by determining the traversability of the terrain and lowering the risk to enter hazardous areas. To achieve these goals, a scout rover will be used for soil and terrain sensing ahead of the main rover. This paper describes a highly mobile, and versatile micro scout rover that is used for soil and terrain sensing and is able to co-operate with a primary rover as part of the FASTER approach. The general reference mission idea and concept is addressed within this paper along with top-level requirements derived from the proposed ESA/NASA Mars Sample Return mission (MSR) [4]. Following the mission concept and requirements [3], a concept study for scout rover design and operations has been performed [5]. Based on this study the baseline for the Coyote II rover was designed and built as shown in Figure 1. Coyote II is equipped with a novel locomotion concept, providing high all terrain mobility and allowing to perform side-to-side steering maneuvers which reduce the soil disturbance as compared to common skid steering [6]. The rover serves as test platform for various scout rover application tests ranging from locomotion testing to dual rover operations. From the lessons learned from Coyote II and for an enhanced design, a second generation rover (namely Coyote III) as shown in Figure 2 is being built. This rover serves as scout rover platform for the envisaged FASTER proof of concept field trials. The rover design is based on the test results gained by the Coyote II trials. Coyote III is equipped with two

  19. Retrieving Atmospheric Dust Loading on Mars Using Engineering Cameras and MSL's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolfe, C. A.; Lemmon, M. T.

    2015-12-01

    Dust in the Martian atmosphere influences energy deposition, dynamics, and the viability of solar powered exploration vehicles. The Viking, Pathfinder, Spirit, Opportunity, Phoenix, and Curiosity landers and rovers each included the ability to image the Sun with a science camera equipped with a neutral density filter. Direct images of the Sun not only provide the ability to measure extinction by dust and ice in the atmosphere, but also provide a variety of constraints on the Martian dust and water cycles. These observations have been used to characterize dust storms, to provide ground truth sites for orbiter-based global measurements of dust loading, and to help monitor solar panel performance. In the cost-constrained environment of Mars exploration, future missions may omit such cameras, as the solar-powered InSight mission has. We seek to provide a robust capability of determining atmospheric opacity from sky images taken with cameras that have not been designed for solar imaging, such as the engineering cameras onboard Opportunity and the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on Curiosity. Our investigation focuses primarily on the accuracy of a method that determines optical depth values using scattering models that implement the ratio of sky radiance measurements at different elevation angles, but at the same scattering angle. Operational use requires the ability to retrieve optical depth on a timescale useful to mission planning, and with an accuracy and precision sufficient to support both mission planning and validating orbital measurements. We will present a simulation-based assessment of imaging strategies and their error budgets, as well as a validation based on the comparison of direct extinction measurements from archival Navcam, Hazcam, and MAHLI camera data.

  20. Overview of the Atmosphere and Environment within Gale Crater on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasavada, A. R.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Crisp, J. A.; Gomez-Elvira, J.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Webster, C. R.

    2012-12-01

    Curiosity's mission at Gale Crater places a number of highly capable atmospheric and environmental sensors within a dynamic setting: next to a 5-km mountain within a 150-km diameter impact crater whose floor is -4.5 km. Curiosity's scientific payload was chosen primarily to allow a geologic and geochemical investigation of Mars' environmental history and habitability, as preserved in the layered sediments on the crater floor and mound. Atmospheric and environmental sensors will contribute by measuring the bulk atmospheric chemical and isotopic composition, the flux of high-energy particle and ultraviolet radiation after modification by the atmosphere, and modern processes related to meteorology and climate over at least one Mars year. The Sample Analysis at Mars instrument will analyze the atmosphere with its mass spectrometer and tunable laser spectrometer. The former is capable of providing bulk composition and isotopic ratios of relevance to planetary evolution, such as nitrogen and noble gases. The latter is designed to acquire high-precision measurements of atmospheric species including CH4, CO2, and H2O, and key isotope ratios in H, C, and O. An important goal will be to compare CH4 abundance and time variability over the mission with the reported detections from the Mars Express orbiter and ground-based observations. The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) measures a broad spectrum of high-energy radiation incident at the surface, including secondary particles created via interactions of galactic cosmic rays and solar protons with Mars' atmospheric constituents. Curiosity's Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) carries six ultraviolet sensors, spanning 200-380 nm. For the first time, both the high-energy and ultraviolet radiation measured at the surface can be compared with measurements above the atmosphere, acquired by other platforms. Modern meteorology and the climatology of dust and water will be studied using the rover's cameras and REMS

  1. Compositional Overview of Curiosity's Traverse to Yellowknife Bay

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiens, R. C.; Maurice, S.; Gellert, R.; Grotzinger, J.; Clegg, S.; Blaney, D.; Bridges, N.; Clark, B.; Dromart, G.; D'Uston, C.; Fabre, C.; Gasnault, O.; Herkenhoff, K.; Langevin, Y.; Mangold, N.; Mauchien, P.; McKay, C.; Newsom, H.; Sautter, V.; Vaniman, D.; Anderson, R.; Baroukh, J.; Barraclough, B.; Bender, S.; Berger, G.; Blank, J.; Cousin, A.; Cros, A.; Deflores, L.; Delapp, D.; Donny, C.; Forni, O.; Gondet, B.; Guillemot, P.; Johnstone, S.; Lacour, J.-L.; Lafaille, V.; Lanza, N.; Lasue, J.; Le Mouelic, S.; Lewin, E.; Lorigny, E.; Melikechi, N.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Mezzacappa, A.; Nelson, T.; Ollila, A.; Perez, R.; Pinet, P.; Saccoccio, M.; Schröder, S.; Sirven, J.-B.; Tokar, R.; Toplis, M.; Yana, C.; Dyar, M. D.; Ehlmann, B.; Johnson, J.; Leveille, R.; Moores, J.; Bridges, J.; Fisk, M. R.; Jackson, R.; Calef, F.

    2013-09-01

    ChemCam has observed more than one hundred rock and soil targets and the APXS has analyzed more than two dozen targets over the course of the first 180 sols on Mars. This presentation gives an overview of the compositional and textural variations along the traverse from the Bradbury landing site to Yellowknife Bay (sol 180), where the first drill sampling was done by the rover arm.

  2. Ender as Viewed by the Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    These anaglyph views of Ender, due south of the lander, were produced by combining left and right views from the IMP (left image) and two right eye frames taken from different viewing angles from the rover (right image). For the rover, one of the right eye frames was distorted using Photoshop to approximate the projection of the left eye view (without this, the stereo pair is painful to view). Then, for both the lander and rover, the left view is assigned to the red color plane and the right view to the green and blue color planes (cyan), to produce a stereo anaglyph mosaic. This mosaic can be viewed in 3-D on your computer monitor or in color print form by wearing red-blue 3-D glasses.Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).Click below to see the left and right views individually. [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Left [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Right

  3. Diagenesis in the Murray Formation, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rampe, E. B.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Blake, D. F.; Bristow, T. F.; Chipera. S. J.; Vaniman, D. T.; Yen, A. S.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Downs, R. T.; hide

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover began investigating the rocks of Mt. Sharp in September 2014. The Murray formation is the lowermost unit, which is mostly comprised of finely laminated mudstones, suggesting these sediments were deposited in a lacustrine environment. It is important to characterize the geochemical and mineralogical trends throughout the Murray Fm to interpret the aqueous conditions of the a