Targeting water-containing minerals on Mars

Targeting water-containing minerals on Mars

Fig. 8.21 . This image shows the abundances and locations of the mineral gray hematite at the landing site of the Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity in Meridiani Planum. It was targeted to land within the oval, which is about 71 kilometers long. A colored map from an instrument aboard the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter displays high (red and yellow) and low (green and blue) concentrations of hematite, an iron oxide mineral that typically forms in the presence of liquid water. The underlying surface image that includes the adjacent craters is from the 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter. The Opportunity rover found abundant evidence near its landing site for flowing water in the ancient past, about 3.7 billion years ago, including microscopic, spherules, dubbed "blueberries", which are rich in hematite (see Figure 8.24). (Courtesy of NASA/JPL/ASU.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University