NewsPlanetary Science

Pathfinder Tells a Geologic Tale With One Starring Role

Science  09 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5348, pp. 175
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5348.175

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Summary

SAN FRANCISCO-- In the 3 months that the Mars Pathfinder and its rover, Sojourner, explored the martian surface, 3 gigabits' worth of data were sent back to Earth, including 16,000 images and 20 chemical analyses. Now that team geologists have had time to weave this wealth of information into a single story, they have found that the landing site was not what they had expected. Pathfinder researchers had hoped that the site would reveal a grab bag of different rock types deposited by great ancient floods, and initial results supported that idea. But, at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union here last month, many Pathfinder researchers suggested that a single rock type lies behind the varied shapes, colors, and textures that Pathfinder observed.

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