Cross-bed Kaibab tells Scientists the Same "Old" Story
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Today FIDO is on its way to a cross-bedded outcrop named Kaibab that
scientists have been interested in visiting since they received their first
Pancam picture of it on sol 7. The intriguing cove-like rock could provide
information about ancient water or wind flows.
Cross-beds like the ones in Kaibab are particularly appealing to
scientists because they are essentially rock-hardened sand dunes formed
by either wind or water. In the constant search for evidence of water on
Mars, cross-bedded landforms will be places of high priority for investigation.
"If we saw a landform like Kaibab on Mars we would definitly want
to investigate and determine if it was aeolian (wind) or fluvial (water) in
origin," says scientist Tim Parker.
Cross-beds are formed when either wind or water carries particles up
the gentle side of a dune and deposits them into layers on the steep side.
Over time, this process forms angular beds with many different layers.
The layers are usually all the same material, but they contain particles of
different sizes and different quantities that will answer the question of
their formation. Coarse, larger particles will indicate that they were
deposited by water while finer material will indicate that they were
blown by wind.
When FIDO gets to Kaibab it will image the area with the Pancam.
Then, it will get closer and attempt to take a picture with the Microscopic
Imager housed on the robotic arm. "This is like hedging your bets.
We might get all the answers out of the Pancam image, but we have the
instruments available so we'll take as much advantage of them as we
can," explains Parker. "Our goal is to get as many pieces of
evidence as possible to answer the question - water or wind - as we
Will scientists get the data they're looking for? What story will
Kaibab tell us? Tune in to sol 13 for the continuation of this story.