...the who's who,
and the what's what 
of the space industry

Space Careers

news Space News

Search News Archive

Title

Article text

Keyword

  • Home
  • News
  • Scientists unveil European Mars rover's meteorite-hunting instruments

Scientists unveil European Mars rover's meteorite-hunting instruments

Written by  Sunday, 25 July 2021 11:12
Write a comment
Washington DC (UPI) Jul 23, 2021
The ExoMars rover Rosalind Franklin, scheduled to launch in 2022, is tasked with hunting for past life on the Red Planet. Most of the rover's scientific probing will be focused on the first six inches of Mars' crust, but the spacecraft will also be programmed to identify, sample and analyze meteorites strewn across the Martian surface. Mission scientists unveiled the rover's mete

The ExoMars rover Rosalind Franklin, scheduled to launch in 2022, is tasked with hunting for past life on the Red Planet.

Most of the rover's scientific probing will be focused on the first six inches of Mars' crust, but the spacecraft will also be programmed to identify, sample and analyze meteorites strewn across the Martian surface.

Mission scientists unveiled the rover's meteorite-hunting instruments on Friday morning at this year's virtual National Astronomy Meeting.

To properly program the meteorite-hunting abilities of Rosalind Franklin's instrument suite, scientists and engineers utilized the vast meteorite collection at the Natural History Museum in London.

Meteorites at the museum helped engineers train and test the ability of rover's multispectral imaging PanCam instrument to distinguish geochemical signatures unique to foreign rocks.

Though looking for rocks in a sea of rocks may sound like a daunting task, past Martian rovers have been surprisingly successful at locating meteorites without trying.

Rosalind Franklin will make a point of sniffing out meteorites in order to contextualize the rover's primary scientific observations.

While meteorites are unlikely to feature signs of ancient life, they may have delivered the organic matter necessary for microbial life to emerge billions of years ago.

Analysis of the meteorite composition can also help scientists study climate weathering rates and water-rock interactions on Mars, providing clues to ancient climate conditions on the Red Planet.

"Meteorites act as a witness plate across geological time," Sara Motaghian, a doctoral student at NHM and Imperial College London who aided the research, said in a press release.

"Generally, the surfaces of Mars we are exploring are incredibly ancient, meaning there have been billions of years for the surface to accumulate these meteorites and lock in information from across Mars' past," Motaghian said.

In addition to training the PanCam instrument to recognize spectral signatures unique to meteorites, scientists also tested pattern recognition techniques for the types of extreme weathering found on the surface of meteorites.


Related Links
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more

Tweet

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only



MARSDAILY
ExoMars orbiter continues hunt for key signs of life on Mars
Paris (ESA) Jul 20, 2021
The ESA-Roscosmos Trace Gas Orbiter has set new upper limits on how much methane, ethane, ethylene and phosphine is in the martian atmosphere - four so-called 'biomarker' gases that are potential signs of life. Searching for biomarkers on Mars is a primary goal of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. A key biomarker of interest is methane, as much of the methane found on Earth is produced by living things or geological activity - and so the same may be true for Mars. The 'methane mystery' on Mars ... read more


Read more from original source...

You must login to post a comment.
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR

* Denotes Required Field
Personal information
Message

Interested in Space?

Hit the buttons below to follow us...