Monday, July 16, 2012

MMAMA field testing - TEST DAY 1

Today was the official first day of the campaign. The rover traversed a predetermined route, the GPR took its data,  panoramic pictures were taken along the way, the Mössbauer spectrometer was deployed and analyzed some rocks as did the magnetometer. 


Sarah Noble, one of the organizers of this campaign, took this picture of the rover in the parking lot. Hopefully at the end of the week some pictures of the rover in action, when we are allowed to go see the field site.

Yesterday, Trevor Graff, one of the field people, collected three samples along today's route for VAPoR to analyze, so we would be in sync with the other instruments. Of course our day looked a little different due to all the soft- and hardware issues yesterday.

So, how did we spend our day?

First, we analyzed an empty quartz sample tube, to get an idea of the background gases in the system. Then, we analyzed an ultra clean fused silica samples that was first ground up and sieved by MeSH to 150 micron (official MeSH movie). Again this was a test to analyze the cleanliness of both VAPoR and MeSH. So far everything looks quite allright! In the mean time, Magnus had ground up two of the three samples collected yesterday, so we ended our day analyzing the first real sample!

Here an idea of what that looked like:

the sample in the field (the sample was collected using aluminium foil to prevent contamination, such as finger prints)

after being MeSHed - the lighter part in the middle is the smallest grain size fraction

some results -> the inorganic gases, showing potential presence of carbonates (CO3, causing the CO2 peaks)

and the organics - one suggestion, since nothing grows up at the site, is that the water is adsorbed rain water and these organics are exhaust products that rain out...

At around 19.00 (7PM) we started our science team meeting, where all teams discussed their results and we made a plan for tomorrow. We'er going to traverse a different part of the valley. Unfortunately, no samples from there were collected for VAPoR yet, so we will be analyzing the remaining samples from today's traverse. All three looked very different, so let's hope we can measure that too! 

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