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Saturday, May 5, 2007



Ancient Volcanic Explosion

The lower coarse-grained unit shows granular textures toward the bottom of the image and massive textures. Also shown is a feature interpreted to be a
The lower coarse-grained unit shows granular textures toward the bottom of the image and massive textures. Also shown is a feature interpreted to be a "bomb sag," which is 4 centimeters across. This false color image was obtained using Spirit's panoramic camera.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/Cornell
At "Home Plate," a plateau of layered bedrock approximately 2 meters (6 feet) high within the "Inner Basin" of Columbia Hills, Spirit has discover signs of ancient volcanic activity. These are the first signs with a high degree of confidence that point to volcanism. One of the strongest supporting details is "bomb sag." They are formed when rocks are shot in the air and land in softer ground, which deform the "bomb sag." This discovery was made as Spirit returned to "Home Plate." . "We decided to go back to Home Plate, once the Martian winter ended, because it is one of the most interesting places that we've found on Gusev Crater," Squyres said. "Last year we primarily explored the northern and eastern sides of it. This time we're hoping to get to the southern and western sides."

As of April 26, Spirit had spent 1,177 sols, or Martian days, on the surface of Mars and had driven 7,095 meters (4.4 miles), and Opportunity had spent 1,157 sols and driven 10,509 meters (6.5 miles). "Considering their age, both rovers are in good health. All science instruments are functioning and continuing to return superb science data," said John Callas, project manager of the Mars Exploration Rover mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

(More info: NASA)


- posted by Jim @ 15:11 EST