Gusev Crater, the landing site for one of the two Mars Exploration Rovers. The yellow oval shows the target landing zone.
Click on image for full size
Mars Rover Landing Sites Selected
News story originally written on April 25, 2003
NASA has chosen two locations on Mars to explore with its Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. The missions are scheduled for launch in May and June of 2003. They will arrive on Mars in January 2004. The two landing sites the rovers will explore were chosen from a list that originally included 155 locations on the Red Planet.
Scientists are interested in finding locations on Mars that have water or that had water in the past. They believe those places provide the best chance to find signs of life. Both MER landing sites show signs of the presence of water in the past.
The two landing sites are Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum. Gusev Crater may have been filled with a large lake in the past. Meridiani Planum appears to have extensive deposits of the mineral hematite. Hematite deposits often form at hot springs, so the deposits may indicate that water was present at Meridiani Planum at some time.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
Meridiani Planum is a small, flat region near the equator on Mars. As is the case on Earth, locations on Mars are specified by stating their latitude and longitude. Meridiani Planum is near the prime meridian,...more
The Galileo spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter since 1995, has finally reached the end of its road. On September 21, 2003, Galileo will make a fiery plunge into Jupiter's atmosphere and be vaporized....more
NASA has chosen two locations on Mars to explore with its Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. The missions are scheduled for launch in May and June of 2003. They will arrive on Mars in January 2004....more
Scientists have recently discovered that thousands of Adelie Penguins thrive in patches of the chilly Southern Ocean near Antarctica's coastline. In these special areas of the ocean, called polynyas,...more
A new study has found that a mixing of two different types of magma is the key to the historic eruptions of Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, and that eruptions often happen in a relatively short...more
Researchers have found a primitive Earth mantle reservoir on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Geologist Matthew Jackson and his colleagues from a multi-institution collaboration report the finding--the...more
Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults. Now an international team of researchers has laboratory evidence showing why some faults that 'should not' slip are...more