Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Crater Gusev on Mars named after Russian astronomer Matwei Matwejewitsch Gusev

Crater Gusev on Mars was named for the Russian astronomer Matwei Matwejewitsch Gusev (1826-1866) [1]. In English, his first name is commonly spelled Matvei.

The Gusev crater was discovered in 1976 on images taken by the Viking Orbiter [2,3]. This crater is a four-billion-year-old meteor impact basin near the Martian equator at 14.6S and 175.4E [4]. Mars Exploration Rover Spirit landed in the basin in 2004. This site was chosen because it had the appearance of a lakebed: the bottom of the crater may contain sedimentary deposits laid down in a submarine environment, assuming that Gusev was once filled with water [5]. Although the Spirit rover found mainly basaltic rock, it also detected some mineral salts such as magnesium and calcium sulfate and amorphous silicon dioxid, giving a hint of a possible presence of thermal water and hot springs in the past [1].

Matvei Gusev was born in 1826 in Vyatka, Russia, and died in 1866 in Berlin, Germany. He is known for proving the non-sphericity of  Earth's moon and concluding that it is elongated in the direction towards Earth [6].

Keywords: astronomy, planetary science, areology (science of Mars), areography (geology of Mars), terminology.

References and more to explore
[1] Ulf von Rauchhaupt: Der Neunte Kontinent - Die wissenschaftliche Eroberung des Mars. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, November 2010; pages 71, 176, 181 and 182.
[2] Malin Space Science Systems > Mars Global Surveyor - Gusev Crater and Ma'adim Vallis:
[3] NASA Images > Gusev Crater and Ma'adam
[4] Google Mars Lab:
[5] NASA National Space Science Data Center > Spirit:
[6] Matvei Gusev:

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