The Mars Garden was designed by the IMP team for testing of the Imager for Mars Pathfinder. IMP activities on Mars will be coordinated to assist in the Microrover navigation, in observation of wind conditions using the Wind Sock experiment, and in cataloging magnetic minerals collected by the Magnetic Particles experiment.
The Arizona Mars K-12 Education Program has been tasked by the Mars Pathfinder project to provide information to the public about the mission. Because the IMP is being constructed in the State of Arizona, and the Mars Garden is also located in the state, we present information here about the Mars Garden.
1. View of Mars Garden at UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. The red soil is used to simulate the color of Mars. Many of the rocks are basaltic lavas. Other rocks include a range of compositions. The Ares Valles landing site was chosen because it might contain a variety of rock types brought down by massive catastrophic floods. The Mars Garden has a range of rock types to help give the IMP a good work-out, to help IMP scientists to learn to recognize these rock types in images. Photo by K. Edgett, 21 December 1994.
2. Another view of the Mars Garden, looking in the opposite direction relative to Figure 1. Photo by K. Edgett, 21 December 1994.
3. Patches of different colored soils in the Mars Garden are used to help calibrate the IMP's visible and near infrared spectrometer capabilities. Also not the variety of rock colors and shapes, again designed to give IMP a chance to see a lot of different kinds of material that might be found at the Ares landing site. Note knee at right and shoes at left, for scale. Photo by K. Edgett, 21 December 1994.
4. The Mars Pathfinder microrover undergoing tests in the Mars Garden in mid-November 1994. Note the patch of colored soils at the lower right, as also seen above in Figure 3. This image was obtained using the IMP that was being tested in November 1994. Image courtesy of the IMP team at University of Arizona.
5. Viking Orbiter view of Mars showing the Ares Valles landing site chosen for Mars Pathfinder. The landing site is at the confluence of a number of huge catastrophic outflow channels. The ellipse is about 200 km long and 150 km wide. Photo from NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Text added by K. Edgett.