It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
"It's been easy for Opportunity to find such minerals," explains Arvidson. "Opportunity landed in an ancient lake bed. Spirit has had to work much harder. Spirit landed in basaltic plains formed by lava flows chewed up by repeated meteoroid impacts. There's been little evidence of anything that was ever very wet."
"The rover's spinning wheels have broken through a crust, and we've found something supremely interesting in the disturbed soil," says Ray Arvidson of the Washington University in St. Louis.
"Spirit had to get stuck to make its next discovery," says Arvidson.
As the rover tried to break free, its wheels began to churn up the soil, uncovering sulfates underneath.
"Sulfates are minerals just beneath the surface that shout to us that they were formed in steam vents, since steam has sulfur in it. Steam is associated with hydrothermal activity – evidence of water-charged explosive volcanism. Such areas could have once supported life."
"And most amazingly, the boundary between the sulfate-rich soil and the soil with just the generic concentration of sulfates runs right down the middle of the stranded rover. Spirit is lodged on the edge of a crater -- sitting astride the boundary!"
Originally posted by JayinAR
Alright, this is getting kinda' silly.
I guess it is easy to forget how long those rovers have been up there.
What was their dsigned life-expectancy? Three months? They've been there for three YEARS. And now, JUST NOW, after having discovered significant quantities of water on the moon, does the rover happen upon the 1:1,000,000,000 shot that it is going to stradle alongside evidence of ancient, or even current, hydrothermal activity on the planet?
As in right in this moment?
Give me a break.
Here's what the scientists think: When a Martian pole faces the sun in Martian summer, it gets warmer at that pole and the water ice shifts to the equator. It even snows there! Warm dark soil under the snow causes the bottom layer of snow to melt. The water trickles into the sulfates, dissolving the water-soluble iron sulfates and forming a crust with the calcium sulfates remaining.
Originally posted by argentus
it got stuck in a sandtrap, churning up the Mars surface, thrusting back and forth trying to free itself, helpless to do more than transmit photos of its shame back home. (yes, I realize I'm anthrpomorphizing). ha!
Very good point. I was wondering that too. It would be fascinating if these subsurface minerals were found to be predominant over the planet.... what would that mean? Red dust from a time of profound volcanos? I don't know. I agree that we should do some cores. I'd hate it if we found an abundance of something valuable to Earth. It'd be just like us humans to plan a mining operation without having first determined that the planet was uninhabited. Sentient microbes? Bacteria? who knows?
Back to topic, its great that Spirit is still operational and even though he got stuck, he is still producing discoveries. If Spirit can kick off all the red dust coat just by peeling out, then the red dust that covers the planet must not be that deep?
Perfectly said, you ol' softie. That's exactly how it feels to me. Anything a person or group puts their efforts and talents into that actually works, especially things like this with unknown variables that can make it go bad.... it does tend one toward a sorta emotional attachment. I remember shooting a car once. Of course, that was anger, but I loved it at one time.
There are going to be some very depressed people at JPL when they finally flip the switch (whenever that happens). I don't think the sentimentalism is avoidable. It will be like putting an old golden retriever down.
i pray nightly that a liitle green man will be photographed lifting the little guy out of the hole he's dug himself, patting him on the head and walking off into the martian sunset.
it would be such a trip.