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Old 03-15-2004, 08:29 AM   #1
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Default Crater on Mars named after Bonneville....


Spirit reaches Bonneville
Meanwhile, carrying out its day job, Spirit has finally peered down into an impact crater called Bonneville. It is the first view of a good-sized impact crater on Mars ever taken from this vantagepoint, said Matt Golombek of NASA'* Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Scientists plan to use the Orion picture to help plan future astronomical observations from Mars.
The crater does not appear to harbor any sedimentary rock outcroppings, like what was found at the Opportunity landing site, Golombek said at a press conference today. Instead, the rocks around the rim appear to all be similar to rocks the rover has encountered running up to the rim. They are all thought to have been cast out by an ancient impact.

The lack of outcroppings of bedrock is somewhat of a disappointment for scientists, because it suggest there might not be any easy-to-find signs of standing water at the Spirit site. The craft has found signs of past water associated with volcanic activity, but not the sort of soggy situation revealed by Opportunity.

Spirit will explore the crater rim for a week or two before deciding whether to drive down in or move on toward the distant East Hills. The decision will be made based on both science and rover safety.

On the other side of the planet, the Opportunity rover is in the process of analyzing the "blueberry bowl," a high concentration of BB-sized spheres. Scientists are confident the spheres, which they sometimes call blueberries, formed in water, but they don't yet know their composition.
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