Adirondack (Mars)

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Adirondack Rock

Adirondacksquare.jpg

Rat post grind.jpg
(Above) An approximate true-color view of "Adirondack" rock, taken by Spirit's pancam.
(Right) Digital camera image (from Spirit's Pancam) of "Adirondack" rock after a RAT grind (Spirit's rock grinding tool)
Feature type Rock
Coordinates 14°36′S 175°30′E / 14.6°S 175.5°E / -14.6; 175.5Coordinates: 14°36′S 175°30′E / 14.6°S 175.5°E / -14.6; 175.5

Adirondack is the nickname for Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's first target rock. Scientists chose Adirondack to be Spirit's first target rock after considering another, called Sashimi, that would have been a shorter, straight-ahead drive. Spirit traversed the sandy martian terrain at Gusev Crater to arrive in front of this football-sized rock on January 18, 2004, just three days after it successfully rolled off the lander.

Scientists named the angular rock after the Adirondack mountain range in New York.

The name "Adirondacks" is an Anglicized version of the Mohawk ratirontaks, meaning "they eat trees", a derogatory name which the Mohawk historically applied to the Algonquian-speaking tribes of the Adirondack Mountains; when food was scarce, the Algonquians would eat the buds and bark of trees.[1]

Cross-section of a typical rock from the plains of Gusev crater - most rocks contain a coating of dust - water-deposited veins are visible.

The rock was selected as Spirit's first target because its dust-free, flat surface is ideally suited for grinding. Clean surfaces also are better for examining a rock's top coating. Spirit has also returned microscopic images and Mössbauer spectrometer readings of Adirondack taken the day before the rover developed computer and communication problems on January 22, 2004. Both are unprecedented investigations of any rock on another planet. The microscopic images indicate Adirondack is a hard, crystalline rock. The peaks large and small in Adirondack's electromagnetic spectrum reveal that the minerals in the rock include olivine, pyroxene and magnetite - a common composition in volcanic basalt rocks on Earth.

Adirondack turned out to be typical of the other rocks on the plains. Spirit Rover's instruments determined that Adironack and other rocks of the plains contain the minerals pyroxene, olivine, plagioclase, and magnetite. These rocks can be classified in different ways. The amounts and types of minerals make the rocks primitive basalts—also called picritic basalts. The rocks are similar to ancient terrestrial rocks called basaltic komatiites. Rocks of the plains also resemble the basaltic shergottites, meteorites which came from Mars. One classification system compares the amount of alkali elements to the amount of silica on a graph; in this system, Gusev plains rocks lie near the junction of basalt, picrobasalt, and tephite. The Irvine-Barager classification calls them basalts.[2] Adirondack has been very slightly altered, probably by thin films of water because they are softer and contain veins of light colored material that may be bromine compounds, as well as coatings or rinds. It is thought that small amounts of water may have gotten into cracks inducing mineralization processes.[3][4] Coatings on the rocks in the plains may have occurred when rocks were buried and interacted with thin films of water and dust. One sign that they were altered was that it was easier to grind these rocks compared to the same types of rocks found on Earth.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donaldson, Alfred L., A History of the Adirondacks, New York: Century, 1921. ISBN 0935796762 (reprint), pp. 34-35
  2. ^ McSween, etal. 2004. Basaltic Rocks Analyzed by the Spirit Rover in Gusev Crater. Science : 305. 842-845
  3. ^ McSween, etal. 2004. Basaltic Rocks Analyzed by the Spirit Rover in Gusev Crater. Science : 305. 842-845
  4. ^ Arvidson, R. E., et al. (2004) Science, 305, 821-824

External links[edit]

Notable rocks on Mars
Adirondacksquare.jpg
PIA00819left-MarsRock-BarnacleBill.gif
PIA14762-MarsCuriosityRover-BathurstInletRock.jpg
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Block Island.jpg
58606main image feature 167 jwfull.jpg
MarsCuriosityRover-CoronationRock-N165-20120817-crop.jpg
El Capitan sol27 pancam.jpg
Adirondack
(Spirit)
Barnacle Bill
(Sojourner)
Bathurst Inlet
(Curiosity)
Big Joe*
(Viking)
Block Island
(Opportunity) M
Bounce
(Opportunity)
Coronation
(Curiosity)
El Capitan
(Opportunity)
PIA17074-MarsOpportunityRover-EsperanceRock-20130223-fig1.jpg
PIA16187-MarsCuriosityRover-GoulburnRock-20120817-crop.jpg
PIA07269-Mars Rover Opportunity-Iron Meteorite.jpg
PIA09089-RA3-hirise-closeup annotated.png
PIA17062-MarsCuriosityRover-HottahRockOutcrop-20120915.jpg PIA16192-MarsCuriosityRover-Target-JakeRock-20120927.jpg
PIA05482 modest.jpg
NASA Curiosity rover - Link to a Watery Past (692149main Williams-2pia16188-43).jpg
Esperance*
(Opportunity)
Goulburn
(Curiosity)
Heat Shield
(Opportunity) M
Home Plate
(Spirit)
Hottah
(Curiosity)
Jake Matijevic
(Curiosity)
Last Chance
(Opportunity)
Link
(Curiosity)
Mackinac Island.jpg
Mars rock Mimi by Spirit rover.jpg
PIA13418 - Oileán Ruaidh meteorite on Mars (false colour).jpg
Pot of gold upclose.jpg
PIA16452-MarsCuriosityRover-Rocknest3Rock-20121005.jpg
391243main-MarsRover-ShelterIslandMeteorite-20091002-crop.jpg
PIA16795-MarsCuriosityRover-TintinaRock-Context-20130119.jpg
NASA-MarsRock-Yogi-SuperRes.jpg
Mackinac Island
(Opportunity) M
Mimi*
(Spirit)
Oileán Ruaidh
(Opportunity) M
Pot of Gold
(Spirit)
Rocknest 3
(Curiosity)
Shelter Island
(Opportunity) M
Tintina
(Curiosity)
Yogi
(Sojourner)
|(Notes: * = linked article is about the mission that encountered this rock; M = Meteorite)