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May 23 / Dave Schumaker

Geology Picture of the Day – Cape St. Mary, Mars

On Sunday, NASA’s Phoenix Mars Mission Lander is supposed to touch down near the north pole of Mars. The “robotic geologist” will dig through the Martian soil with a mechanical arm to reach potential ice/frost layers and retrieve samples for the experiments.

The lander includes a miniature oven, a mass spectrometer, a small “chemistry lab-in-a-box,” a meteorological station and various imagine systems such as an atomic force microscope.

In honor of this mission, I give you this geology picture of the day from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers mission.

Image Source: NASA’s Opportunity rover. Acquired June 23, 2007.

Another of the best examples of spectacular cross-bedding in Victoria crater are the outcrops at Cape St. Mary, which is an approximately 15 m (45 foot) high promontory located along the western rim of Victoria crater and near the beginning of the rover’s traverse around the rim. Like the Cape St. Vincent images, these Pancam super-resolution images have allowed scientists to discern that the rocks at Victoria Crater once represented a large dune field that migrated across this region.

This is a Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity Panoramic Camera image mosaic acquired on sol 1213 (June 23, 2007), and was constructed from a mathematical combination of 32 different blue filter (480 nm) images.

You can even follow along with the Phoenix Mars Mission on its Twitter page.

More Information:
Phoenix Mars Mission – Univ. of Arizona
Phoenix Mars Mission – JPL
Phoenix Mars Mission Twitter Page
Mars Exploration Rover Mission

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