Topic: Curiosity Mars rover mission
This image shows the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity with the first rock touched by an instrument on the arm. The rover's right Navigation Camera (Navcam) took this image during the 46th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Sept. 22, 2012)© NASA
This image shows where NASA's Curiosity rover aimed two different instruments to study a rock known as "Jake Matijevic." The red dots are where the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument zapped it with its laser on Sept. 21, 2012, and Sept. 24, 2012© NASA
MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti)
- Mars Rover Curiosity Finds Old Streambed
- Mars Rover Approaches Unusual Rock
- NASA's Mars Rover Poised to Begin Search for Life
- Curiosity Laser Targets Martian Rocks
- Russian Mars Water Sniffer Goes Online
The first rock on Mars that NASA's rover Curiosity has touched presents a more varied composition than scientists expected from previous missions, NASA reported.
Curiosity used two of its tools, the arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and the mast-mounted, laser-zapping Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) Instrument, to study the chemical composition of the football-size rock called “Jake Matijevic.”
Jake also resembles unusual rocks from Earth's interior, NASA said.
"This rock is a close match in chemical composition to an unusual but well-known type of igneous rock found in many volcanic provinces on Earth," said Curiosity co-investigator Edward Stolper of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
"Jake is kind of an odd Martian rock," said APXS Principal Investigator Ralf Gellert of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, adding that the rock is “high in elements consistent with the mineral feldspar, and low in magnesium and iron."
Unique compositions were found by ChemCam at 14 target points on Jake.
During the rover's two-year mission, researchers will use the its 10 science tools to assess if the selected field site inside Gale Crater has ever had environmental conditions suitable for microbial life.
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