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Moessbauer group of Mainz University preparing for participation in Japanese moon mission
Date:7/13/2011

APXS used during NASA's last missions on Mars," states Klingelhfer. The APXS was used on-board of the two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, and it is in large degree thanks to its chemical analyses that we now know that our neighboring planet once had a warm and humid climate about 4 billion years ago. As was the case with NASA's mission to Mars, Dr Johannes Brckner of the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry is also involved in the SELENE-2 project helping to design the instrument, formulating the research topics, and analyzing the data.

Even before SELENE-2 is ready for take-off, the Mainz researchers will be cooperating with their colleagues in Russia and Japan to have a closer look at the Martian moon Phobos. The question is whether Phobos is an asteroid once captured by Mars or was originally formed from orbiting Martian rocks and dust. This mission is scheduled to start at the end of 2011 and is being equipped with an advanced version of the MIMOS II, a miniature version of the Mssbauer spectrometer. Test runs were carried out about one year ago in Hawaii, where Mars-like materials can be found on the slopes of the Mauna Kea volcano. A field test was jointly carried out there by NASA and CSA, the Canadian Space Agency, to try out instruments for future space missions to Mars and Earth's Moon.

Moreover, the Mars Rover Mission, which started in the summer of 2003, is also still on-going. The rover Opportunity is now in the eighth year of its journey and is moving across the surface of the red planet in the direction of the big Endeavor crater, where it is expected to arrive in late summer or early fall. "Once it arrives there, we will be looking for specific clay minerals containing iron. We have not yet detected these minerals in situ on the Martian surface, but we are hoping to obtain additional data on rocks that make up Mars as well as information on the origin of the red planet," explains Klingelhfer.

Klingelhfer and his team,
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Contact: Dr. Goestar Klingelhoefer
klingel@uni-mainz.de
49-613-139-23282
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
Source:Eurekalert

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