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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More evidence for water

The silica-rich patch, informally named
The silica-rich patch, informally named "Gertrude Weise" after a player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, was exposed when Spirit drove over it during the 1,150th Martian day, or sol, of Spirit's Mars surface mission (March 29, 2007).
Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
Spirit has found a patch of concentrated silica, so concentrated that water must have been present during its creation. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer detected a region of 90% pure silica. "You could hear people gasp in astonishment," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for the Mars rovers' science instruments. "This is a remarkable discovery. And the fact that we found something this new and different after nearly 1,200 days on Mars makes it even more remarkable. It makes you wonder what else is still out there." Spirit worked within 50m of the patch for months. "This discovery has driven home to me the value of in-depth, careful exploration," Squyres said. "This is a target-rich environment, and it is a good thing we didn't go hurrying through it."

(More info: JPL/NASA)

- posted by Jim @ 15:14 EST