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Aeolian Processes at the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity Landing SiteThe traverse of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity across its Meridiani Planum landing site has shown that wind has affected regolith by creating drifts, dunes, and ubiquitous ripples, by sorting grains during aeolian transport, by forming bright wind streaks downwind from craters seen from orbit, and by eroding rock with abrading, wind-blown material. Pre-landing orbiter observations showed bright and dark streaks tapering away from craters on the Meridiani plains. Further analysis of orbiter images shows that major dust storms can cause bright streak orientations in the area to alternate between NW and SE, implying bright wind streak materials encountered by Opportunity are transient, potentially mobilized deposits. Opportunity performed the first in situ investigation of a martian wind streak, focusing on a bright patch of material just outside the rim of Eagle crater. Data from Pancam, the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES), the Alpha-Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), and the Mossbauer spectrometer either are consistent with or permit an air fall dust interpretation. We conclude that air fall dust, deposited in the partial wind shadow of Eagle crater, is responsible for the bright streak seen from orbit, consistent with models involving patchy, discontinuous deposits of air fall dust distributed behind obstacles during periods of atmospheric thermal stability during major dust storms.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Conference Paper
Sullivan, R.
(Cornell Univ. Ithaca, NY, United States)
Bell, J. F., III
(Cornell Univ. Ithaca, NY, United States)
Calvin, W.
(Nevada Univ. Reno, NV, United States)
Fike, D.
(Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Golombek, M.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Greeley, R.
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
Grotzinger, J.
(Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Herkenhoff, K.
(Geological Survey Flagstaff, AZ, United States)
Jerolmack, D.
(Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Malin, M.
(Malin Space Science Systems San Diego, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2005
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 18
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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