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Surface processes recorded by rocks and soils on Meridiani Planum, Mars: Microscopic Imager observations during Opportunity's first three extended missions

Herkenhoff, Ken E. and Grotzinger, John P. and Knoll, Andrew H. and McLennan, Scott M. and Weitz, Catherine and Yingst, Aileen and Anderson, Robert and Archinal, Brent A. and Arvidson, Raymond E. and Barrett, Janet M. and Becker, Kris J. and Bell, James F., III and Budney, Charles and Chapman, Mary G. and Cook, Debbie and Ehlmann, Bethany and Frankllin, Brenda and Gaddis, Lisa R. and Galuszka, Donna M. and Garcia, Patricia A. and Geissler, Paul and Hare, Trent M. and Howington-Kraus, Elpitha and Johnson, Jeffrey R. and Keszthelyi, Laszlo and Kirk, Randolph L. and Lanagan, Peter and Lee, Ella Mae and Leff, Craig and Maki, Justin N. and Mullins, Kevin F. and Parker, Timothy J. and Redding, Bonnie L. and Rosiek, Mark R. and Sims, Michael H. and Soderblom, Laurence A. and Spanovich, Nicole and Springer, Richard and Squyres, Steve W. and Stolper, Daniel and Sucharski, Robert M. and Sucharski, Tracie and Sullivan, Rob and Torson, James M. (2008) Surface processes recorded by rocks and soils on Meridiani Planum, Mars: Microscopic Imager observations during Opportunity's first three extended missions. Journal of Geophysical Research E, 113 (E12). E12S32. ISSN 0148-0227.

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The Microscopic Imager (MI) on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has returned images of Mars with higher resolution than any previous camera system, allowing detailed petrographic and sedimentological studies of the rocks and soils at the Meridiani Planum landing site. Designed to simulate a geologist's hand lens, the MI is mounted on Opportunity's instrument arm and can resolve objects 0.1 mm across or larger. This paper provides an overview of MI operations, data calibration, and analysis of MI data returned during the first 900 sols (Mars days) of the Opportunity landed mission. Analyses of Opportunity MI data have helped to resolve major questions about the origin of observed textures and features. These studies support eolian sediment transport, rather than impact surge processes, as the dominant depositional mechanism for Burns formation strata. MI stereo observations of a rock outcrop near the rim of Erebus Crater support the previous interpretation of similar sedimentary structures in Eagle Crater as being formed by surficial flow of liquid water. Well-sorted spherules dominate ripple surfaces on the Meridiani plains, and the size of spherules between ripples decreases by about 1 mm from north to south along Opportunity's traverse between Endurance and Erebus craters.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Herkenhoff, Ken E.0000-0002-3153-6663
Grotzinger, John P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Knoll, Andrew H.0000-0003-1308-8585
McLennan, Scott M.0000-0003-4259-7178
Arvidson, Raymond E.0000-0002-2854-0362
Bell, James F., III0000-0002-2006-4074
Ehlmann, Bethany0000-0002-2745-3240
Johnson, Jeffrey R.0000-0002-5586-4901
Soderblom, Laurence A.0000-0002-0917-853X
Stolper, Daniel0000-0003-3299-3177
Additional Information:Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 1 February 2008; revised 23 April 2008; accepted 19 May 2008; published 6 November 2008. We thank the MER rover planners for their outstanding support of Opportunity IDD operations: Brian K. Cooper, Jeff Biesiadecki, Frank Hartman, Scott Maxwell, John Wright, Jeng Yen, Chris Leger, Robert Bonitz, Eric Baumgartner, Khaled Ali, Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, and Mark Maimone. We also thank the NASA Ames MER support team: Matthew Deans, Laurence Edwards, Joel Hagen, Clayton Kunz, David Lees, Randy Sargent, Michael Wagner, and Anne Wright. Software tools developed at Cornell University by the Pancam team continue to be very useful in tracking and managing MI data products; we thank Elaina McCartney for her repeated assistance in operations planning. The MIPL MER team quickly generated many MI mosaics: Doug Alexander, Amy Chen, Oleg Pariser, Bob Deen, Jeff Hall, Mike Cayanan, Vadim Klochko, Elmain Martinez, and Charles Thompson. We also appreciate the support received from the MER team at the USGS in Flagstaff: Jeff Anderson, Tammy Becker, Chris Isbell, Brian Lipkowitz, Dave MacKinnon, Jac Shinaman, Deborah Soltesz, Sean Varga, and Robert Wallace. Boris Semenov of JPL's Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility supported MI geometric processing by providing SPICE kernels in a timely fashion. This work was performed for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The use of trade, product, or firm names in this paper does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Mars, MER, MI
Issue or Number:E12
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:HERjgre08
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Official Citation:Herkenhoff, K. E., et al. (2008), Surface processes recorded by rocks and soils on Meridiani Planum, Mars: Microscopic Imager observations during Opportunity's first three extended missions, J. Geophys. Res., 113, E12S32, doi:10.1029/2008JE003100.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:12883
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:08 Jan 2009 23:24
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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