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Encyclopedia > Blueberry rock
Spheules still in their originating strata
Spheules still in their originating strata

Martian spherules (also known as blueberries due to their blue hue in false-color images released by NASA) are the abundant spherical hematite inclusions discovered by the Mars rover Opportunity at Meridiani Planum on the planet Mars. They are found in situ embedded in a sulfate salt evaporitic matrix, and also loose on the surface. Opportunitys images a close up of an outcrop rock Courtesy NASA/JPL. File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Opportunitys images a close up of an outcrop rock Courtesy NASA/JPL. File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Artists Concept of Rover on Mars (credit: Maas Digital LLC) NASAs Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission is an ongoing unmanned Mars exploration mission, commenced in 2003, that sent two robotic rovers Spirit and Opportunity to explore the Martian surface and geology. ... The mission patch for Opportunity, featuring Duck Dodgers (Daffy Duck). ... Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity looks southwest across Meridiani Planum; the Rovers discarded backshell and parachute are visible in the distance Hematite deposits in Meridiani Planum mapped from orbit, with Opportunity rover landing site ellipse Meridiani Planum is a plain located 2 degrees south of Mars equator, in the westernmost... Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the solar system, named after the Roman god of war (the counterpart of the Greek Ares), on account of its blood red color as viewed in the night sky. ...


The shapes by themselves don't reveal the particles' origin with certainty. "A number of straightforward geological processes can yield round shapes," said Dr. Hap McSween, an Opportunity science team member from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. They include accretion under water, but apparent pores in the particles make alternative possibilities of meteor impacts or volcanic eruptions more likely origins, he said. The University of Tennessee (UT), sometimes called the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville or UTK), is the flagship institution of the statewide land-grant University of Tennessee public university system. ... See also: Accretion (finance) Accretion is increase in size by gradual addition of smaller parts. ... A pore, in general, is some form of opening, usually very small. ... Photo of a burst of meteors with extended exposure time A meteor is the visible path of a meteoroid that enters the Earths (or another bodys) atmosphere, commonly called a shooting star or falling star. ... Volcano 1. ...

Mosaic shows some spherules partly embedded.
Mosaic shows some spherules partly embedded.

For example, ranging in size from less than 100 micrometers to more than 250 micrometers, similar spherules were found in Moon soil samples collected by Apollo 12 at the Procellarum Basin, and Apollo 14 near Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains), the dark crater that dominates the Moon's face (1), and their properties were consistent with expectations for creation by meteor impacts (2). The image is from one of the Mars Exploration Rovers File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The image is from one of the Mars Exploration Rovers File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... A micrometre (American spelling: micrometer, symbol µm) is an SI unit of length equal to one millionth of a metre, or about a tenth of the size of a droplet of mist or fog. ... Apparent magnitude: up to -12. ... Apollo 12 was the sixth manned mission in the Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon. ... The Ocean of Storms of the Moon. ... Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission in the Apollo program and the third mission to land on the Moon. ... Oblique view of Mare Imbrium looking south towards Copernicus crater. ...


In this picture, you can see them spread over the (smaller) soil grains. "We see these strange round objects we're calling "spherules" embedded in the outcrop, like blueberries in a muffin. The outcrop erodes away as it gets sandblasted, and the spherules (which seem to resist erosion better than the rest of the outcrop does) fall out and roll down the hill. Weird." said Squyres. The spheres may have formed when molten rock was sprayed into the air by a volcano or a meteor impact. Or, they may be concretions, or accumulated material, formed by minerals coming out of solution as water diffused through rock, he said on a February 9 press conference. 1. ... Dissolving table salt in water This article is about a chemical solution; for other uses of the term solution, see solution (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... February 9 is the 40th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ...


Not only are there spherules on the surface but they are also found deeper in the Martian soil. The difference between these and ones which were found at the surface was that they had a very shiny surface, that created strong glints and glares which made them appear shiny or polished. On March 2, Opportunity mission scientists reported that they concluded a survey of the distribution of spherules in the bedrock. They found that the spherules spread out evenly and randomly inside the rocks, and not in layers. This supports the notion that they grew in place, since if their origin was related to volcanic or meteoric episodes one would expect layers of spherules as a "record in time" for each event. This observation was added to the list of evidence for liquid water being present at this rock site, where it is thought the spherules formed. March 2 is the 61st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (62nd in leap years). ...

3-D anaglyph of a spherule
3-D anaglyph of a spherule

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (640x992, 70 KB)Subject: Martian hematite spherules 3D anaglyph Source: From MER Opportunity; anaglyph by Kbh3rd from original frame by NASA -- see [1] Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (640x992, 70 KB)Subject: Martian hematite spherules 3D anaglyph Source: From MER Opportunity; anaglyph by Kbh3rd from original frame by NASA -- see [1] Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free... Image File history File links 3d_glasses_red_cyan. ...

External references

Allan McCollum is a contemporary American artist who was born in Los Angeles, California in 1944, and now lives and works in New York City. ...

See also

This article, which relates to the planet Mars or its moons, is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


The mission patch for Opportunity, featuring Duck Dodgers (Daffy Duck). ... 1. ... fulgurite Fulgurites (from the Latin fulgur meaning thunderbolt) are natural hollow carrot-shaped glass tubes formed in quartzose sand or soil by lightning strikes. ... The Moeraki Boulders are a large number of spherical concretions, found strewn across a beach at Moeraki, a small settlement just south of Hampden on New Zealands Otago coast. ... This article belongs in one or more categories. ... Stone sphere in the courtyard of El Museo Nacional The stone spheres of Costa Rica are a collection of some three hundred polished stone orbs, the first of which were discovered in the Diquis Delta of Costa Rica during the 1930s. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ...


 
 

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