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Spirit Studies Layered Rocks At Home Plate

Home Plate desktop - 1360x768 :: 1024x768
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jun 12, 2007
Having completed studies of bright, silica-rich soil deposits at a target known as "Gertrude Weise," Spirit drove to a perch on the eastern edge of the circular, plateau-like feature known as "Home Plate" and began studying its stratigraphy. Spirit will next drive back in the direction of Gertrude Weise to study another nearby outcrop.

The nearby outcrop, known as "Nancy Warren," appears similar to a previously studied outcrop known as "Elizabeth Mahon" that had a silica content of approximately 72 percent, somewhat lower than the 90-percent silica measaured at Gertrude Weise.

A layer of dark soil on Elizabeth Mahon likely affected the measurement of silica content with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, which measures the abundance of chemical elements. Nancy Warren is interesting because it appears to have less of the dark soil coating than Elizabeth Mahon and could help scientists characterize the silica found at Gertrude Weise.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels using the panoramic camera, surveys of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and communication activities including morning direct-from-Earth uplinks via the rover's high-gain antenna and evening downlinks at UHF frequencies via the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1207 (May 26, 2007): Spirit re-started the Mossbauer spectrometer and continued analysis of a rock target known as "Pesapallo," representing one of the lowest stratigraphic units of Home Plate. Spirit surveyed targets known as "Margaret Brown" and "Edythe Keating" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera in coordination with orbital scans of the terrain by the High Resolution Science Imaging Experiment on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The rover acquired an image mosaic of a target called "Bullpen2" using the panoramic camera and searched for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 1208: Spirit acquired data from targets known as "Mary Reynolds" and "Eleanor Callow" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and re-started analysis of Pesapallo using the Mossbauer spectrometer. The rover completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter and acquired an image mosaic of a target called "Bullpen3" with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1209: Spirit used the rock abrasion tool to brush the surface of "Superpesis," a rock target on another fin-shaped outcrop of Home Plate, acquired stereo microscopic images of the target, and analyzed the target with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Spirit acquired movie frames in search of dust devils using the navigation camera.

Sol 1210: Spirit stowed the robotic arm, bumped backward, and acquired full-color images of Pesapallo using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. Spirit drove 3 meters (10 feet) to a rock target known as "June Emerson," acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera, and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1211: Spirit unstowed the robotic arm, brushed the surface of June Emerson with the rock abrasion tool, acquired microscopic images of June Emerson, and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target. The rover surveyed additional targets known as "Dorothy Cameron" and "Adeline Kerrar" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit then acquired data from June Emerson using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter, acquired full-color images of Dorothy Cameron using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, and scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 1212: Spirit acquired microscopic images of rock targets called "Dorothy Key" and "Betty Foss." The rover placed the Mossbauer spectrometer on June Emerson and collected data. Spirit used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to study rock targets known as "Helen Staubin" and "Dorothy Chapman" and completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter. Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of the solar array to monitor dust accumulation.

Sol 1213: Spirit acquired more data from June Emerson using the Mossbauer spectrometer and acquired data using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer from Pesapallo and targets known as "Joan Chiancola," "Jaynie Krick," and "Jean Gilchrist." Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of the rover's tracks and full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of Jean Gilchrist and Jaynie Krick. The rover completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter and watched for dust devils.

Sol 1214: Spirit continued to acquire data from June Emerson using the Mossbauer spectrometer. Using the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, the rover acquired full-color images and thermal data to characterize rock targets known as "Irene Kotowicz," "Audrey Seitzinger," "Lucille Colacio," and "Mary Kustra." Spirit watched for dust devils and completed an overnight relay of information to the Odyssey orbiter. Spirit stowed the robotic arm and acquired full-color images of the reachable work volume using the panoramic camera. The rover took spot images of the sky using the panoramic camera and conducted reconnaissance using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1215: Spirit drove 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) to a finely crossbedded rock target dubbed "Elizabeth Emery" and acquired post-drive navigation camera images. The rover watched for dust devils, relayed data overnight to the Odyssey spacecraft, surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, and did reconnaissance using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1216: Spirit unstowed the robotic arm and conducted a study of Elizabeth Emery with the brush on the rock abrasion tool, the microscopic imager, and the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover surveyed targets known as "Clara Cook" and "Ruth Lessing" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, relayed data overnight to the Odyssey orbiter, and acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1217: Spirit brushed a finely crossbedded rock target known as "Jane Stoll" using the rock abrasion tool and took microscopic images of the brushed target. The rover placed the Mossbauer spectrometer back on Elizabeth Emery and collected more data. Spirit acquired full-color, 13-filter images of Dorothy Chapman with the panoramic camera and data from Jaynie Krick using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover completed an overnight relay to the Odyssey spacecraft.

Sol 1218 (June 7, 2007): Spirit acquired early-morning panoramic camera images and movie frames in search of dust devils. The rover used the rock abrasion tool to brush the surface of rock targets called "Mildred Deegan" and "Betty Wagoner" and took microscopic images of the brushed surfaces. Spirit surveyed Irene Kotowicz with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter, searched for clouds using the navigation camera, and acquired images of a target known as "Donna Cook" with the panoramic camera.

Odometry: As of sol 1218 (June 7, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,124.92 meters (4.43 miles).

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The Viability Of Methane-Producing Microorganisms In Simulated Martian Soils
Fayetteville AK (SPX) Jun 11, 2007
University of Arkansas researchers have tested the methane production of three different types of microorganisms in different soil types that resemble those found on Mars to test the possibility of these soils harboring life. Tim Kral, professor of biological sciences at the University of Arkansas; Heaven A. Kozup of Gwynedd-Mercy College in Pennsylvania, and UA graduate student Brandon G. Gibson will present their findings Wednesday, May 23, at the American Society for Microbiology in Toronto.









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