This image shows the landing site for the Mars Pathfinder mission.
Click on image for full size
Image from: NASA/JPL
The Flood Plain explored by Mars Pathfinder
The nature of the flood plain observed by the Rover was unusual compared to a terrestrial flood plain, and suggested that it might not actually be a floodplain. The rocks could have come from ejecta from impacts which created the nearby craters. Scientists have to consider all the evidence before them so that they can prove a hypothesis is true.
Some of the reasons for doubting the flow-origin hypothesis include:
- some of the boulders found by the Rover were larger than those expected to be carried by catastrophic flood waters.
- there was no gravel present
On the other hand, scientists discovered many pebbles
, cobbles and conglomerate-type rocks
. These suggest that the landingsite *was*
formed from outflowing water.
Scientists considered carefully whether the origin of the rocks could be from flowing water or from impact processes. Findings from these studies contribute to the overall results of the Pathfinder mission, and help answer some questions.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
This image shows pits and holes (ventifacts) in a small rock found by the Mars Pathfinder Rover. These ventifacts are artifacts of weathering on Mars and were created by wind erosion. The Souffle rock...more
These are the findings of Mars Pathfinder. Rounded Pebbles, Cobbles and possible Conglomerates were found - a result from analysis of the landing site, the rocks, and the soils. showed that there were...more
The Mars Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001, from Florida. After a six-month, 285 million-mile journey, the Odyssey arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001. The Odyssey is in its aerobraking phase right now....more
The Mars 2005 mission is still in the planning stages. It is set to launch in the year 2005. ...more
The Mars Global Surveyor reached Mars in September of 1997. But it didn't make it into its final mapping orbit until February 1999. What took so long? Surveyor needed to reach a near-circular, low-altitude...more
Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. This instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The graph to the left shows the results returned from Mars...more
Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. This instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The picture to the left shows Mars Global Surveyor's measurement...more