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Oppy is 10 miles from clay

Posted by: BuckGalaxy - Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:33 am
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Oppy is 10 miles from clay 
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Post Oppy is 10 miles from clay   Posted on: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:33 am
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0907/19opportunity/


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The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has found clay-bearing rocks lying directly in the path ahead for the Mars rover Opportunity, giving the rover the unexpected chance to sample a totally new rock type that could have provided a wet, warm, and non acidic habitat for the formation of early life on Mars. ...

The finding increases stakes for Opportunity to reach the site which scientists at Cornell University now find has the same high priority geologic character as those on the final landing target list for the Mars Science Laboratory ( MSL) rover "Curiosity" planned for launch in 2011.

"This discovery by MRO is very important because clays are an indicator of aqueous processes , formed at a neutral acidity level says Steve Squyres, Mars rover principal investigator Cornell University.

"The clays we have found are not only indicative of abundant water, but also a watery environment more suitable for life," Squyres told Spaceflight Now. The rover team never thought areas within their reach harbored such potential - but new hope beckons...

But in a rare lucky break for the search for evidence of life on another planet, Opportunity will be able to directly sample the newly found phyllosilicate formations, if it can survive for the next 12-18 months, the time needed to drive ten more miles to the location.



Outstanding news! No reason to not go pedal to the metal at this point. Talk about suddenly raising the stakes for making it to Endeavor. I hope Oppy gets there.


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Post Re: Oppy is 10 miles from clay   Posted on: Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:35 pm
Very cool photos!

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