Possible Meteorites in the Martian Hills

Jul 11, 2006
Possible Meteorites in the Martian Hills
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

From its winter outpost at "Low Ridge" inside Gusev Crater, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit took this spectacular, color mosaic of hilly, sandy terrain and two potential iron meteorites. The two light-colored, smooth rocks about two-thirds of the way up from the bottom of the frame have been labeled "Zhong Shan" and "Allan Hills."

The two rocks' informal names are in keeping with the rover science team's campaign to nickname rocks and soils in the area after locations in Antarctica. Zhong Shang is an Antarctic base that the People's Republic of China opened on Feb. 26, 1989, at the Larsemann Hills in Prydz Bay in East Antarctica.

Allan Hills is a location where researchers have found many Martian meteorites, including the controversial ALH84001, which achieved fame in 1996 when NASA scientists suggested that it might contain evidence for fossilized extraterrestrial life. Zhong Shan was the given name of Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), known as the "Father of Modern China." Born to a peasant family in Guangdong, Sun moved to live with his brother in Honolulu at age 13 and later became a medical doctor. He led a series of uprisings against the Qing dynasty that began in 1894 and eventually succeeded in 1911. Sun served as the first provisional president when the Republic of China was founded in 1912.

The Zhong Shan and Allan Hills rocks, at the left and right, respectively, have unusual morphologies and miniature thermal emission spectrometer signatures that resemble those of a rock known as "Heat Shield" at the Meridiani site explored by Spirit's twin, Opportunity. Opportunity's analyses revealed Heat Shield to be an iron meteorite.

Spirit acquired this approximately true-color image on the rover's 872nd Martian day, or sol (June 16, 2006), using exposures taken through three of the panoramic camera's filters, centered on wavelengths of 600 nanometers, 530 nanometers, and 480 nanometers.

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Explore further: Full lunar eclipse delights Americas, first of year

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spirit Wintering But Work Continues

Jul 11, 2006

From its winter outpost at Low Ridge inside Gusev Crater, NASA's Spirit rover took this view of the nearby hilly, sandy terrain that includes two potential iron meteorites. The two light-colored, smooth rocks ...

Recommended for you

Vegetables on Mars within ten years?

19 hours ago

The soil on Mars may be suitable for cultivating food crops – this is the prognosis of a study by plant ecologist Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen UR. This would prove highly practical if we ever decide to ...

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of a Saturn moon

20 hours ago

(Phys.org) —NASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet's known ...

Meteorite studies suggest hidden water on Mars

21 hours ago

Geochemical calculations by researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology to determine how the water content of Mars has changed over the past 4.5 billion years suggest as yet unidentified reservoirs of water ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of a Saturn moon

(Phys.org) —NASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet's known ...

Vegetables on Mars within ten years?

The soil on Mars may be suitable for cultivating food crops – this is the prognosis of a study by plant ecologist Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen UR. This would prove highly practical if we ever decide to ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.