NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds Various Minerals In Mars Rocks

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NASA’s Curiosity rover has discovered a large range of minerals in rock samples from Mars, which means that circumstances modified within the water environments on the pink planet over time.

Layers of rocks on the base of Mount Sharp on Mars collected as sediment inside historic lakes round three.5 billion years in the past.

Earlier analysis has proven that the mountain’s lowermost layers have variations in minerals that counsel modifications within the space have occurred.

In a examine revealed within the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, scientists from NASA’s Johnson Space Centre within the US described on the primary 4 samples collected from the decrease layers of Mount Sharp.

“We went to Gale Crater to research these decrease layers of Mount Sharp which have these minerals that precipitated from water and counsel totally different environments,” mentioned Elizabeth Rampe from NASA.

“These layers had been deposited about three.5 billion years in the past, coinciding with a time on Earth when life was starting to take maintain. We expect early Mars could have been much like early Earth, and so these environments might need been liveable,” mentioned Rampe.

The minerals discovered within the 4 samples drilled close to the bottom of Mount Sharp counsel a number of totally different environments had been current in historic Gale Crater. There’s proof for waters with totally different pH and variably oxidising circumstances.

Finding out such rock layers can yield details about Mars’ previous habitability, and figuring out minerals discovered within the layers of sedimentary rock yields a lot information concerning the atmosphere by which they fashioned.

On the base are minerals from a primitive magma supply; they’re wealthy in iron and magnesium. Transferring increased within the part, scientists noticed extra silica-rich minerals.

Within the “Telegraph Peak” pattern, scientists discovered minerals much like quartz. Within the “Buckskin” pattern, scientists discovered tridymite.

Tridymite is discovered on Earth in rocks that fashioned from partial melting of Earth’s crust or within the continental crust – an odd discovering as a result of Mars by no means had plate tectonics.

Within the “Confidence Hills” and “Mojave 2” samples, scientists discovered clay minerals, which typically type within the presence of liquid water with a near-neutral pH, and subsequently might be good indicators of previous environments that had been conducive to life.

The opposite mineral found right here was jarosite, a salt that kinds in acidic options. The jarosite discovering signifies that there have been acidic fluids sooner or later.

There are totally different iron-oxide minerals within the samples as nicely. Hematite was discovered close to the bottom; solely magnetite was discovered on the high. Hematite comprises oxidised iron, whereas magnetite comprises each oxidised and decreased types of iron. The kind of iron-oxide mineral current could inform scientists concerning the oxidation potential of the traditional waters.

“We now have all this proof that Mars was as soon as actually moist however now’s dry and chilly,” Rampe mentioned. “At present, a lot of the water is locked up within the poles and within the floor at excessive latitudes as ice,” he mentioned.

“We expect that the rocks Curiosity has studied reveal historic environmental modifications that occurred as Mars began to lose its ambiance and water was misplaced to area,” he added.

Overview : NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds Various Minerals in Mars Rocks

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