Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mars: Evidence of water flows at ancient impact crater endeavour

Date:
May 3, 2012
Source:
Stony Brook University
Summary:
Evidence of ancient water at a Martian crater is the latest in a long series of discoveries by a surprisingly long-lived Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. The latest discovery was made at the rim of the Endeavour Crater, a large ancient impact crater on Mars measuring 14 miles in diameter.

Artist's Concept of Rover on Mars. Evidence of ancient water at a Martian crater is the latest in a long series of discoveries by a surprisingly long-lived Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity,
Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell University

Evidence of ancient water at a Martian crater is the latest in a long series of discoveries by a surprisingly long-lived Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, according to a paper published in the May 4 edition of the journal Science entitled, "Ancient Impact and Aqueous Processes at Endeavour Crater, Mars." The latest discovery was made at the rim of the Endeavour Crater, a large ancient impact crater on Mars measuring 14 miles in diameter.

"The rover discovered evidence for low temperature liquid water and environments that would be conducive for life," said Scott M. McLennan, Professor of Geochemistry at Stony Brook University and a member of the team that published the paper (Steven Squyres of Cornell University headed the team and is the principal investigator for the science instruments carried by the rover). Dr. McLennan noted that this was the third area on Mars visited by the Mars rovers that has produced evidence of "habitable" ancient geological environments.

Opportunity was one of two exploration rovers that landed on Mars eight years ago for what was planned as a three-month mission. According to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Opportunity reached Endeavour Crater last August after driving for three years from another Martian crater, Victoria.

Dr. McLennan said Opportunity found highly elevated levels of zinc in some of the rocks at the rim of the crater, suggesting that there was a hydrothermal system -- warm water -- running through the rocks at one time. In addition, veins of gypsum discovered at the crater were strong evidence that low temperature waters had at one time passed through those rocks.

"If we found this on Earth there would be no question that you could find evidence of life," said Dr. McLennan, noting that the Rover sent back some "spectacular" photos of the gypsum veins.

The Mars Rover Opportunity has given Stony Brook faculty and graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to collaborate for eight years on scientific study of Mars as part of the Stony Brook Mars rover group, Dr. McLennan said. While Opportunity and its sister Rover Spirit were scheduled to operate for three months, "Everyone felt they had the capability of lasting quite a bit longer, but nobody thought Opportunity would last this long." NASA selected Dr. McLennan to participate in the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission.

The mission consisted of two rovers that arrived on opposite sides of Mars in 2004. Dr. McLennan has investigated data on Martian rock and surface deposits to gain insight into the ancient climates of that planet and contribute to NASA's overarching strategy of Mars Exploration: "Follow the Water," the search for past life on Mars, understanding past climates and why the climate changed so drastically, and evaluating the planet for human exploration. Opportunity landed in Eagle Crater on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, three weeks after its rover twin, Spirit, landed halfway around the planet. Spirit stopped communicating in March 2010.

Powered by solar panels, Opportunity went into "hibernation" on a sun facing slope at the crater's rim during the Martian winter due to reduced sunlight. It is scheduled to come out of that hibernation by mid-2012 or earlier if wind cleans dust off its solar panels. According to NASA, researchers plan to drive Opportunity in search of clay minerals that a Mars orbiter's observations indicate lie on Endeavour's rim.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stony Brook University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. W. Squyres, R. E. Arvidson, J. F. Bell, F. Calef, B. C. Clark, B. A. Cohen, L. A. Crumpler, P. A. de Souza, W. H. Farrand, R. Gellert, J. Grant, K. E. Herkenhoff, J. A. Hurowitz, J. R. Johnson, B. L. Jolliff, A. H. Knoll, R. Li, S. M. McLennan, D. W. Ming, D. W. Mittlefehldt, T. J. Parker, G. Paulsen, M. S. Rice, S. W. Ruff, C. Schroder, A. S. Yen, K. Zacny. Ancient Impact and Aqueous Processes at Endeavour Crater, Mars. Science, 2012; 336 (6081): 570 DOI: 10.1126/science.1220476

Cite This Page:

Stony Brook University. "Mars: Evidence of water flows at ancient impact crater endeavour." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503142422.htm>.
Stony Brook University. (2012, May 3). Mars: Evidence of water flows at ancient impact crater endeavour. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503142422.htm
Stony Brook University. "Mars: Evidence of water flows at ancient impact crater endeavour." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503142422.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) On it's second attempt this week, The Space X company launched Friday from Cape Canaveral to ferry supplies to the International Space Station. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unmanned Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

Unmanned Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2014) The rocket, built and operated by Space Exploration Technologies, carries a Dragon cargo ship loaded with supplies and equipment destined for the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth's Near-Twin Found Orbiting Red Dwarf

Earth's Near-Twin Found Orbiting Red Dwarf

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The newly-discovered planet is roughly the size of Earth and could have liquid water on its surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A bump in the rings could be a half-mile-wide miniature moon. It was found by accident in Cassini probe images. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Life on Mars? Mars Rover Opportunity Finds Some of the Necessary Conditions Once Existed

May 4, 2012 Late last year, the NASA Mars Rover Opportunity found what appeared to be veins of gypsum when examining the edge of the crater dubbed “Endeavour.” Gypsum is formed in water at a temperature ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins