Athena Mars rover science investigation

Steven W. Squyres, Raymond E. Arvidson, Eric T. Baumgartner, James Bell, Philip Christensen, Stephen Gorevan, Kenneth E. Herkenhoff, Göstar Klingelhöfer, Morten Bo Madsen, Richard V. Morris, Rudolf Rieder, Raul A. Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

188 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Each Mars Exploration Rover carries an integrated suite of scientific instruments and tools called the Athena science payload. The primary objective of the Athena science investigation is to explore two sites on the Martian surface where water may once have been present, and to assess past environmental conditions at those sites and their suitability for life. The remote sensing portion of the payload uses a mast called the Pancam Mast Assembly (PMA) that provides pointing for two instruments: the Panoramic Camera (Pancam), and the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES). Pancam provides high-resolution, color, stereo imaging, while Mini-TES provides spectral cubes at mid-infrared wavelengths. For in-situ study, a five degree-of-freedom arm called the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD) carries four more tools: a Microscopic Imager (MI) for close-up imaging, an Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) for elemental chemistry, a Mössbauer Spectrometer (MB) for the mineralogy of Fe-bearing materials, and a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) for removing dusty and weathered surfaces and exposing fresh rock underneath. The payload also includes magnets that allow the instruments to study the composition of magnetic Martian materials. All of the Athena instruments have undergone extensive calibration, both individually and using a set of geologic reference materials that are being measured with all the instruments. Using a MER-like rover and payload in a number of field settings, we have devised operations processes that will enable us to use the MER rovers to formulate and test scientific hypotheses concerning past environmental conditions and habitability at the landing sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Volume108
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 25 2003

Fingerprint

mars
Mars
panoramic cameras
spectrometer
payloads
spectrometers
Spectrometers
Cameras
environmental conditions
thermal emission
Bearings (structural)
Particle spectrometers
abrasion
Rocks
rocks
rock
habitability
Mars exploration
X ray spectrometers
Imaging techniques

Keywords

  • Mars
  • Payload
  • Rover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Squyres, S. W., Arvidson, R. E., Baumgartner, E. T., Bell, J., Christensen, P., Gorevan, S., ... Romero, R. A. (2003). Athena Mars rover science investigation. Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, 108(12).

Athena Mars rover science investigation. / Squyres, Steven W.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Baumgartner, Eric T.; Bell, James; Christensen, Philip; Gorevan, Stephen; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Klingelhöfer, Göstar; Madsen, Morten Bo; Morris, Richard V.; Rieder, Rudolf; Romero, Raul A.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, Vol. 108, No. 12, 25.12.2003.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Squyres, SW, Arvidson, RE, Baumgartner, ET, Bell, J, Christensen, P, Gorevan, S, Herkenhoff, KE, Klingelhöfer, G, Madsen, MB, Morris, RV, Rieder, R & Romero, RA 2003, 'Athena Mars rover science investigation', Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, vol. 108, no. 12.
Squyres SW, Arvidson RE, Baumgartner ET, Bell J, Christensen P, Gorevan S et al. Athena Mars rover science investigation. Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets. 2003 Dec 25;108(12).
Squyres, Steven W. ; Arvidson, Raymond E. ; Baumgartner, Eric T. ; Bell, James ; Christensen, Philip ; Gorevan, Stephen ; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E. ; Klingelhöfer, Göstar ; Madsen, Morten Bo ; Morris, Richard V. ; Rieder, Rudolf ; Romero, Raul A. / Athena Mars rover science investigation. In: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets. 2003 ; Vol. 108, No. 12.
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