Evidence from Opportunity's Microscopic Imager for Water on Meridiani Planum

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Squyres, S. W. ; Richter, L. ; Hviid, S. F. ; Johnson, ; Jolliff, B. ; Kinch, K. M. ; Knoll, A. H. ; Madsen, M. B. ; Maki, J. N. ; McLennan, S. M. ; McSween, H. Y. ; Ming, D. W. ; Rice, J. W. ; Sims, M. ; Smith, P. H. ; Soderblom, L. A. ; Spanovich, N. ; Sullivan, R. ; Thompson, S. ; Wdowiak, T. ; Weitz, C. ; Whelley, P. ; Arvidson, R. ; Bass, D. S. ; Bell, J. F. ; Bertelsen, P. ; Ehlmann, B. L. ; Farrand, W. ; Gaddis, L. ; Greeley, R. ... view all 33 authors (2004)

The Microscopic Imager on the Opportunity rover analyzed textures of soils and rocks at Meridiani Planum at a scale of 31 micrometers per pixel. The uppermost millimeter of some soils is weakly cemented, whereas other soils show little evidence of cohesion. Rock outcrops are laminated on a millimeter scale; image mosaics of cross-stratification suggest that some sediments were deposited by flowing water. Vugs in some outcrop faces are probably molds formed by dissolution of relatively soluble minerals during diagenesis. Microscopic images support the hypothesis that hematite-rich spherules observed in outcrops and soils also formed diagenetically as concretions.
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