Featured image: ‘Cacao’ meteorite in Gale crater, Mars – MastCam mosaic comprised of 19 images. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.
Paper: Spectral Diversity of Rocks and Soils in Mastcam Observations Along the Curiosity Rover’s Traverse in Gale Crater, Mars
Author: Rice M S et al., (2022)
On the 28th January 2023 NASA’s MSL Curiosity rover team confirmed the rock ‘Cacao’ as an iron-nickle (Fe-Ni) meteorite on the surface of Mars. Curiosity captured images of a silvery-grey rock, very distinctive among the beige-red sedimentary landscape it is currently exploring. Cacao is a ‘float’ rock, meaning is it not embedded within the bedrock and is not where it formed. Float rocks are common on Mars, but many can be traced back to the upper ledges of slopes they have fallen from, or as ejecta from a nearby impact. Cacao has joined a special group of float rocks that are distinct in appearance, genetic composition, and origin.
Continue reading “‘Cacao’ meteorite and other Fe-Ni meteorites on Mars”
Featured image: Meteor Crater, located in southwestern United States. Credit: David A. Kring (2017).
Book: Kring, D. (2017) Guidebook to the geology of Barringer Meteorite Crater, Arizona (a.k.a. meteor crater). 2nd edn. LPI Contribution No.2040.
Author: David A. Kring
Impact cratering has been occurring throughout geological time. Earth’s best preserved impact crater lies in Arizona. Barringer Meteorite Crater – or Meteor Crater – formed when an iron meteorite impacted into northern Arizona ~50,000 years ago. Since then, the landscape has seen little erosion, creating a beautifully preserved impact crater. The site can be accessed by tourists only in restricted areas, but the wider crater can be used by select geologists and is used by NASA to train astronauts… and somehow, I found myself there alongside a group of PhD students from across the world.
Continue reading “From Arizona to Mars: How Impact Craters Have Shaped the Solar System“
Featured image: a mushroom shaped volcanic plume arising from the explosive activity of Redoubt volcano, Alaska in 1990. Credit: R. Clucas.
Paper: Caldera Collapse and Volcanic Resurfacing in Arabia Terra Provide Hints of Vast Under-Recognized Early Martian Volcanism
Authors: Yin Yau Yoyo Chu, Joseph R. Michalski, Shawn P. Wright, A. Alexander G. Webb.
Mars is a planet of extreme highs and lows containing the solar system’s largest volcano – Olympus Mons – and the largest canyon system – Valles Marineris. Tharsis and Elysium, the planet’s two largest volcanic provinces, are young surface features that were built by basaltic volcanism throughout the Amazonian, the most recent geological era on Mars.
Continue reading “Ancient Explosive Volcanoes on Mars”
Featured Image: Artist’s impression of ESA’s ExoMars rover ‘Rosalind Franklin’ on the surface of Mars. Credit: ESA.
Paper: Oxia Planum: The Landing Site for the ExoMars “Rosalind Franklin” Rover Mission: Geological Context and Prelanding Interpretation
Authors: Quantin-Nataf et al., 2021
We are entering a new dawn of Mars exploration: Perseverance rover touched down on Mars earlier this year, which marks the start of what will be a decade-long effort to return samples from Mars. In 2022 the European Space Agency (ESA) will launch the ExoMars rover, which will team up with the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) to find evidence of past or present life on Mars.
Continue reading “Oxia Planum: ExoMars 2022 Landing Site”
Featured image: A mud volcano and mud flows in Azerbaijan. Credit: CAS/ Petr Brož/ CC BY-SA 4.0.
Paper: Mud flow levitation on Mars: Insights from laboratory simulations
Authors: Petr Brož et al.,
The Mariner spacecraft’s first images of Mars in the 1960s and 70s showed large volcanoes and flow features, most likely lava or mud. These features were largely interpreted to be lava flows because they look similar to those seen on Earth. However, a 2020 study by Brož et al., shows that mud flows may be more prevalent on Mars than first hypothesized.
Continue reading “It’s LeviOsa, Not LevioSA: The Science Of Levitating Mud On Mars”
Featured image: An artist’s concept of NASA’s InSight lander on Mars with a cutaway of the surface below. Credit: IPGP/Nicolas Sarter.
Paper: Constraints on the shallow elastic and anelastic structure of Mars from InSight seismic data
Authors: Philippe Lognonné et al.,
Scientists are able to ‘see’ the internal structure of the Earth based on seismic waves recorded during Earthquakes. Earthquakes send seismic waves out in all directions with two main types: (1) surface waves are the major culprits of Earthquake damage as they remain on the surface; (2) faster body waves can travel down within Earth’s interior. The body waves are the fastest seismic waves, consisting of the first (primary; P-wave) and second (secondary, S-wave) waves to arrive at a location away from the epicentre of an Earthquake.
Continue reading “Marsquakes give scientists an InSight to Mars”