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Mars Exploration Rovers Essay

795 words - 4 pages

Rovers discovered plenty of salts on Mars. Bright soil contains salts, including iron-bearing sulfates and light-colored soil mainly composed of silica are possibly originated from water. Deposits of closely pure silica in Gusev Crater may have developed when volcanic steam or hot water leached through the ground. These deposits found around hydrothermal vents are important for past habitability’s studies of Mars as Earth’s hydrothermal environments support microbial ecosystems.

Both rovers found compelling evidence that liquid water was once plentiful on Mars. Rocks at the Opportunity landing site contain tiny spheres-nicknamed “blueberries”, suggesting that they formed in standing ...view middle of the document...

Opportunity landed in the Meridiani Plains, where orbital spacecraft had detected spectroscopic hints of minerals that form in water. They carried cameras, instruments to identify rock composition, and a grinder to expose fresh rock for analysis. The rovers, designed for just 3 months of operation, were still working as this book was being written, more than 5.5years later. Both rovers found compelling evidence that liquid water was once plentiful on Mars. Rocks at the Opportunity landing site contain tiny spheres-nicknamed “blueberries”, although they’re neither blue nor as large as the berries we find in stores-and odd indentations suggesting that they formed in standing water, or possibly by groundwater percolating through rocks. Compositional analysis shows that the “blueberries” contain the iron-rich mineral hematite, and nearby rocks contain the sulfur-rich mineral jarosite. Both minerals form in water, and chemical analysis supports the case for formation in a salty environment such as a sea or ocean. Moreover, we find very similar “blueberries” that formed in water on Earth, and a close look at the layering of the sedimentary rocks suggests a changing environment of waves and/or wind.

Spirit and Opportunity arrived on Mars in 2004 to look for evidence of the past presence of liquid water on Mars, and that has been successfully achieved. Opportunity in particular has found evidence that its landing site was once covered by water, probably very early in the history of Mars. Both...

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