Ancient aqueous environments at Endeavour crater, Mars

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Opportunity has investigated in detail rocks on the rim of the Noachian age Endeavour crater, where orbital spectral reflectance signatures indicate the presence of Fe+3-rich smectites. The signatures are associated with fine-grained, layered rocks containing spherules of diagenetic or impact origin. The layered rocks are overlain by breccias, and both units are cut by calcium sulfate veins precipitated from fluids that circulated after the Endeavour impact. Compositional data for fractures in the layered rocks suggest formation of Al-rich smectites by aqueous leaching. Evidence is thus preserved for water-rock interactions before and after the impact, with aqueous environments of slightly acidic to circum-neutral pH that would have been more favorable for prebiotic chemistry and microorganisms than those recorded by younger sulfate-rich rocks at Meridiani Planum.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Ancient aqueous environments at Endeavour crater, Mars
Series title Science
DOI 10.1126/science.1248097
Volume 343
Issue 6169
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher American Association for the Advancement of Science
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 9 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Science
Other Geospatial Mars;Endeavour Crater
Online Only (Y/N) Y