Characterization of the Martian Surface Deposits by the Mars Pathfinder Rover, Sojourner

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Science  05 Dec 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5344, pp. 1765-1768
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5344.1765

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Sojourner, the Mars Pathfinder rover, discovered pebbles on the surface and in rocks that may be sedimentary—not volcanic—in origin. Surface pebbles may have been rounded by Ares flood waters or liberated by weathering of sedimentary rocks called conglomerates. Conglomerates imply that water existed elsewhere and earlier than the Ares flood. Most soil-like deposits are similar to moderately dense soils on Earth. Small amounts of dust are currently settling from the atmosphere.

  • * Contributions by H. J. Moore, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA, and F. Pavlics, 3337 Campanil Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93109, USA.

  • Correspondence should be addressed to H. J. Moore. E-mail: moore{at}

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