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Assessment of Mars Exploration Rover landing site predictions

Golombek, M. P. and Arvidson, R. E. and Bell, J. F., III and Christensen, P. R. and Crisp, J. A. and Crumpler, L. S. and Ehlmann, B. L. and Fergason, R. L. and Grant, J. A. and Greeley, R. and Haldemann, A. F. C. and Kass, D. M. and Parker, T. J. and Schofield, J. T. and Squyres, S. W. and Zurek, R. W. (2005) Assessment of Mars Exploration Rover landing site predictions. Nature, 436 (7047). pp. 44-48. ISSN 0028-0836. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20121016-104050598

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Abstract

Comprehensive analyses of remote sensing data during the three-year effort to select the Mars Exploration Rover landing sites at Gusev crater and at Meridiani Planum correctly predicted the atmospheric density profile during entry and descent and the safe and trafficable surfaces explored by the two rovers. The Gusev crater site was correctly predicted to be a low-relief surface that was less rocky than the Viking landing sites but comparably dusty. A dark, low-albedo, flat plain composed of basaltic sand and haematite with very few rocks was expected and found at Meridiani Planum. These results argue that future efforts to select safe landing sites based on existing and acquired remote sensing data will be successful. In contrast, geological interpretations of the sites based on remote sensing data were less certain and less successful, which emphasizes the inherent ambiguities in understanding surface geology from remotely sensed data and the uncertainty in predicting exactly what materials will be available for study at a landing site.


Item Type:Article
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature03600DOIUNSPECIFIED
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v436/n7047/full/nature03600.htmlPublisherUNSPECIFIED
Additional Information:© 2005 Nature Publishing Group. Received 7 July 2005. We are deeply indebted to the MER engineers for offering us the opportunity to test our landing site predictions with data from the surface of Mars. We acknowledge the contributions of R. Blanchard, P. Withers and the MER Atmospheric Advisory Team to the interpretations of the atmospheric entry information. M. Wyatt provided the THEMIS thermal inertia image. R. Castano, A. Castano, B. Bornstein and R. C. Anderson developed OASIS, R. Deen provided panoramas and associated range at correct resolution, and T. Stough and M. Judd provided rock counts. Research described in this paper was done by the MER project, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We are deeply indebted to the MER engineers for offering us the opportunity to test our landing site predictions with data from the surface of Mars. We acknowledge the contributions of R. Blanchard, P. Withers and the MER Atmospheric Advisory Team to the interpretations of the atmospheric entry information. M. Wyatt provided the THEMIS thermal inertia image. R. Castano, A. Castano, B. Bornstein and R. C. Anderson developed OASIS, R. Deen provided panoramas and associated range at correct resolution, and T. Stough and M. Judd provided rock counts. Research described in this paper was done by the MER project, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121016-104050598
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20121016-104050598
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ID Code:34920
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:16 Oct 2012 20:43
Last Modified:16 Oct 2012 20:43

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