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The Raman Laser Spectrometer for the ExoMars Rover Mission to Mars

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      In situ evidence for an ancient aqueous environment at Meridiani Planum, Mars.

      Sedimentary rocks at Eagle crater in Meridiani Planum are composed of fine-grained siliciclastic materials derived from weathering of basaltic rocks, sulfate minerals (including magnesium sulfate and jarosite) that constitute several tens of percent of the rock by weight, and hematite. Cross-stratification observed in rock outcrops indicates eolian and aqueous transport. Diagenetic features include hematite-rich concretions and crystal-mold vugs. We interpret the rocks to be a mixture of chemical and siliciclastic sediments with a complex diagenetic history. The environmental conditions that they record include episodic inundation by shallow surface water, evaporation, and desiccation. The geologic record at Meridiani Planum suggests that conditions were suitable for biological activity for a period of time in martian history.
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        A New Type of Secondary Radiation

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          Jarosite and hematite at Meridiani Planum from Opportunity's Mossbauer Spectrometer.

          Mossbauer spectra measured by the Opportunity rover revealed four mineralogical components in Meridiani Planum at Eagle crater: jarosite- and hematite-rich outcrop, hematite-rich soil, olivine-bearing basaltic soil, and a pyroxene-bearing basaltic rock (Bounce rock). Spherules, interpreted to be concretions, are hematite-rich and dispersed throughout the outcrop. Hematitic soils both within and outside Eagle crater are dominated by spherules and their fragments. Olivine-bearing basaltic soil is present throughout the region. Bounce rock is probably an impact erratic. Because jarosite is a hydroxide sulfate mineral, its presence at Meridiani Planum is mineralogical evidence for aqueous processes on Mars, probably under acid-sulfate conditions.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Unidad Asociada UVa-CSIC al Centro de Astobiología, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain.
            [2 ]IRAP, University Paul Sabatier—CNRS—Obs. Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse, France.
            [3 ]Department of Physics and Astronomy, Space Research Centre, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom.
            [4 ]Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA), Madrid, Spain.
            [5 ]Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Space, Didcot, United Kingdom.
            [6 ]Institute of Physical Chemistry, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany.
            [7 ]ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
            Journal
            Astrobiology
            Astrobiology
            Mary Ann Liebert Inc
            1531-1074
            1557-8070
            July 2017
            July 2017
            : 17
            : 6-7
            : 627-654
            10.1089/ast.2016.1567
            © 2017

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