Aeolis Palus

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Aeolis Palus[1]
Topographic Map of Gale Crater.jpg
Map of Gale Crater with Aeolis Mons rising from the middle of the crater. The Curiosity Rover landing ellipse is shown on the northwestern crater floor, named Aeolis Palus.[2][3][4]
Location Gale Crater
Coordinates 4°28′S 137°25′E / 4.47°S 137.42°E / -4.47; 137.42Coordinates: 4°28′S 137°25′E / 4.47°S 137.42°E / -4.47; 137.42
Naming USGS / IAU on May 16, 2012.[1]

Aeolis Palus is a plain between the northern wall of Gale Crater and the northern foothills of Aeolis Mons on planet Mars and is centered at 4°28′S 137°25′E / 4.47°S 137.42°E / -4.47; 137.42.[1]

The NASA Mars Science Laboratory mission delivered a rover to the crater plain in August 2012 to begin an extended mission of exploration and planetary science. As of 2013, the rover, named Curiosity, is currently exploring Aeolis Palus as part of its planned two-year science mission.

Spacecraft exploration[edit]

On August 5, 2012, at 10:32 p.m. PDT/mission time (August 6, 2012 at 5:32 UTC), mission control at JPL received a signal from the NASA Curiosity rover that it had successfully landed in "Yellowknife" Quad 51[5][6][7][8] of Aeolis Palus.[9] The rover's mission is to explore the surface area of Gale Crater focusing first near its landing site on Aeolis Palus and then venturing into the nearby foothills of Aeolis Mons (unofficially, "Mount Sharp") to investigate its geological features and strata.[2][3][4][10]

On September 26, 2013, NASA scientists reported the Mars Curiosity rover detected "abundant, easily accessible" water (1.5 to 3 weight percent) in soil samples at the Rocknest region of Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater.[11][12][13][14][15][16] In addition, NASA reported the rover found two principal soil types: a fine-grained mafic type and a locally derived, coarse-grained felsic type.[13][15][17] The mafic type, similar to other martian soils and martian dust, was associated with hydration of the amorphous phases of the soil.[17] Also, perchlorates, the presence of which may make detection of life-related organic molecules difficult, were found at the Curiosity rover landing site (and earlier at the more polar site of the Phoenix lander) suggesting a "global distribution of these salts".[16] NASA also reported that Jake M rock, a rock encountered by Curiosity on the way to Glenelg, was a mugearite and very similar to terrestrial mugearite rocks.[18]

On December 9, 2013, NASA reported that, based on evidence from Curiosity studying Aeolis Palus, Gale Crater contained an ancient freshwater lake which could have been a hospitable environment for microbial life.[19][20]

Bradbury Landing[edit]

Main article: Bradbury Landing

"Bradbury Landing" is a named location on Aeolis Palus. It is where the Curiosity rover landed.[21][22] The coordinates of the landing site are: 4°35′22″S 137°26′30″E / 4.5895°S 137.4417°E / -4.5895; 137.4417.[23][24] The landing site location was named for science fiction author Ray Bradbury.[22] NASA announced the name on Bradbury's 92nd birthday, August 22, in honor of the author who died a few months earlier on June 5, 2012.[22] Michael Meyer, NASA program scientist for Curiosity, said "This was not a difficult choice for the science team. Many of us and millions of other readers were inspired in our lives by stories Ray Bradbury wrote to dream of the possibility of life on Mars."[22] Bradbury wrote a collection of stories called The Martian Chronicles in the 1940s.[22] The Curiosity team left a message on Twitter "In tribute, I dedicate my landing spot on Mars to you, Ray Bradbury. Greetings from Bradbury Landing!"[22] NASA released a video of Bradbury reading his poem 'If Only We Had Taller Been'.[25][26]

Images[edit]

Evidence of water on Mars in Aeolis Palus[28][29][30]

Peace Vallis and related alluvial fan near the Curiosity rover landing ellipse and landing site (noted by +).
"Hottah" rock outcrop on Mars - an ancient streambed viewed by the Curiosity rover (September 14, 2012). (3-D version.)
"Link" rock outcrop on Mars - compared with a terrestrial fluvial conglomerate - suggesting water "vigorously" flowing in a stream.
Curiosity Rover on the way to Glenelg (September 26, 2012).


Curiosity's view of the "Rocknest" area - South is center/North at both ends; "Mount Sharp" at SE horizon (somewhat left-of-center); "Glenelg" at East (left-of-center); rover tracks at West (right-of-center) (November 16, 2012; white balanced) (raw color) (interactives).
Curiosity's view of Aeolis Palus from "Rocknest" looking eastward toward "Point Lake" (center) on the way to "Glenelg Intrique" (November 26, 2012; white balanced) (raw color).
Curiosity's view of Mars sky at sunset (February 2013; sun simulated by artist).


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c USGS (May 16, 2012). "Three New Names Approved for Features on Mars". USGS. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b NASA Staff (March 27, 2012). "'Mount Sharp' on Mars Compared to Three Big Mountains on Earth". NASA. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Agle, D. C. (March 28, 2012). "'Mount Sharp' On Mars Links Geology's Past and Future". NASA. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Staff (March 29, 2012). "NASA's New Mars Rover Will Explore Towering 'Mount Sharp'". Space.com. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ NASA Staff (August 10, 2012). "Curiosity's Quad - IMAGE". NASA. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ Agle, DC; Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (August 9, 2012). "NASA's Curiosity Beams Back a Color 360 of Gale Crate". NASA. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ Amos, Jonathan (August 9, 2012). "Mars rover makes first colour panorama". BBC News. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  8. ^ Halvorson, Todd (August 9, 2012). "Quad 51: Name of Mars base evokes rich parallels on Earth". USA Today. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ NASA Staff (August 6, 2012). "NASA Lands Car-Size Rover Beside Martian Mountain". NASA. Retrieved August 6, 2012-1. 
  10. ^ NASA Staff (July 2012). "Mars Science Laboratory Landing Press Kit". NASA. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  11. ^ Lieberman, Josh (September 26, 2013). "Mars Water Found: Curiosity Rover Uncovers 'Abundant, Easily Accessible' Water In Martian Soil". iSciencetimes. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  12. ^ Leshin, L. A. et al (September 27, 2013). "Volatile, Isotope, and Organic Analysis of Martian Fines with the Mars Curiosity Rover". Science (journal) 341 (6153). doi:10.1126/science.1238937. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Grotzinger, John (September 26, 2013). "Introduction To Special Issue: Analysis of Surface Materials by the Curiosity Mars Rover". Science (journal) 341 (6153): 1475. doi:10.1126/science.1244258. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  14. ^ Neal-Jones, Nancy; Zubritsky, Elizabeth; Webster, Guy; Martialay, Mary (September 26, 2013). "Curiosity's SAM Instrument Finds Water and More in Surface Sample". NASA. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (September 26, 2013). "Science Gains From Diverse Landing Area of Curiosity". NASA. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Chang, Kenneth (October 1, 2013). "Hitting Pay Dirt on Mars". New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Meslin, P.-Y. et al. (September 26, 2013). "Soil Diversity and Hydration as Observed by ChemCam at Gale Crater, Mars". Science (journal) 341 (6153). doi:10.1126/science.1238670. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  18. ^ Stolper, E.M.; Baker, M.B.; Newcombe, M.E.; Schmidt, M.E.; Treiman, A.H.; Cousin, A.; Dyar, M.D.; Fisk, M.R.; Gellert, R.; King, P.L.; Leshin, L.; Maurice, S.; McLennan, S.M.; Minitti, M.E.; Perrett, G.; Rowland, S.; Sautter, V.; Wiens, R.C.; MSL ScienceTeam. "The Petrochemistry of Jake_M: A Martian Mugearite". Science (journal) 341 (6153). AAAS. doi:10.1126/science.1239463. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Chang, Kenneth (December 9, 2013). "On Mars, an Ancient Lake and Perhaps Life". New York Times. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Various (December 9, 2013). "Science - Special Collection - Curiosity Rover on Mars". Science. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  21. ^ Brown, Dwayne; Cole, Steve; Webster, Guy; Agle, D.C. (August 22, 2012). "NASA Mars Rover Begins Driving at Bradbury Landing". NASA. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f Flood, Alison (August 23, 2012). "Curiosity Martian landing point named after Ray Bradbury". The Guardian. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  23. ^ MSNBC Staff (August 6, 2012). "Video from rover looks down on Mars during landing". MSNBC. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  24. ^ Young, Monica (August 7, 2012). "Watch Curiosity Descend onto Mars". SkyandTelescope.com. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Curiosity Landing Site Named for Ray Bradbury". NASA. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  26. ^ Jessie Lendennie, ed. (2006). "If Only We Had Taller Been". Daughter and Other Poems. Salmon Publishing. pp. 57–58. 
  27. ^ Mars Science Laboratory: Multimedia-Images
  28. ^ Brown, Dwayne; Cole, Steve; Webster, Guy; Agle, D.C. (September 27, 2012). "NASA Rover Finds Old Streambed On Martian Surface". NASA. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  29. ^ NASA (September 27, 2012). "NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds Old Streambed on Mars - video (51:40)". NASAtelevision. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  30. ^ Chang, Alicia (September 27, 2012). "Mars rover Curiosity finds signs of ancient stream". AP News. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Aeolis Palus and Aeolis Mons in Gale Crater: