Serendipity at its best

Sometimes you just get lucky. According to the New York Times,

The lame wheel on the NASA Mars rover Spirit has proved an invaluable science tool, turning up evidence of a once habitable environment, scientists said Monday.

Turns out that scientists found something they weren’t looking for because of the crippled wheel. Lots of science happens that way!

The press release from work says

The puzzle is what produced a patch of nearly pure silica — the main ingredient of window glass — that Spirit found last May. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic steam rises through cracks. On Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life.

Go rovers, go! About time to hibernate for the Martian winter, too.

Meanwhile, orbiting the planet, MRO continues to do its work. I worked on the Mars Climate Sounder, which is taking measurements on Martian climate. And CRISM took some funky photos of the Martian moons.