Crater counting dating
Although researchers have determined the ages of rocks from other planetary bodies, the actual experiments—like analyzing meteorites and moon rocks—have always been done on Earth.
Now, for the first time, researchers have successfully determined the age of a Martian rock—with experiments performed on Mars.
However, shortly before the rover left Earth in 2011, NASA's participating scientist program asked researchers from all over the world to submit new ideas for experiments that could be performed with the MSL's already-designed instruments. Findings from the first such experiment on the Red Planet—published by Farley and coworkers this week in a collection of Curiosity papers in the journal —provide the first age determinations performed on another planet.
The paper is one of six appearing in the journal that reports results from the analysis of data and observations obtained during Curiosity's exploration at Yellowknife Bay—an expanse of bare bedrock in Gale Crater about 500 meters from the rover's landing site.
The flow accumulates craters and the crater numbers date the time of formation.
In other cases, not uncommon on Mars, the story is more complex.
The accuracy of age estimates of geologically young surfaces based on crater counting on Mars has been questioned due to formation of large amounts of secondary craters.This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. Use a 128 zoom OR larger (to give you at least 30 or more craters) and fill in the average crater diameter and # of craters you measured (128 zoom will give you at least a 100km Provenance: Tanaka (1986) Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike license You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.The smooth floor of Yellowknife Bay is made up of a fine-grained sedimentary rock, or mudstone, that researchers think was deposited on the bed of an ancient Martian lake.In March, Curiosity drilled holes into the mudstone and collected powdered rock samples from two locations about three meters apart.
Crater counting is a method for estimating the age of a planet's surface.