The opportunity Rover's athena science investigation at Meridiani Planum, Mars

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

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384 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1698-1703
Number of pages6
JournalScience
Volume306
Issue number5702
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 3 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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    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., ... Yen, A. (2004). The opportunity Rover's athena science investigation at Meridiani Planum, Mars. Science, 306(5702), 1698-1703. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1106171