Reprinted from the February 2004 edition of the Mössbauer Spectroscopy Newsletter, published as part of Volume 27, Issue 2 of the Mössbauer Effect Reference and Data Journal
2004 has been quite a year so far, as the international Mössbauer community watches and celebrates as two Mössbauer spectrometers operate on the surface of Mars. The two spectrometers are, of course, aboard the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers “Spirit” and “Opportunity”, which landed on Mars January 4 and January 25, respectively. The MIMOS II (from MIniaturized MOssbauer Spectrometer) backscattering Mössbauer spectrometers on board the Mars Exploration Rovers were developed for space exploration by the Mars Mössbauer Group at Universität Mainz, headed by Dr. Göstar Klingelhöfer.
The first-ever Mössbauer spectrum recorded on the surface of another planet was received from the MIMOS II spectrometer aboard Spirit on January 17, 2004. That spectrum is featured on our front cover. Since then, both Spirit and Opportunity have repeatedly used their Mössbauer spectrometers to examine the surface of Mars and the Rovers have sent that data back to Earth. Initial results suggest that water-driven processes exist on Mars.
The following is a series of photos and spectra compiled from data sent to Earth from the two Mars Exploration Rovers. The graphics and caption text following each image are courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech, and can be found on the JPL Web site at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov.