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Topic: ChemCam

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover discovery of high concentrations of Silica on Mars puzzles Scientists

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In detective stories, as the plot thickens, an unexpected clue often delivers more questions than answers. In this case, the scene is a mountain on Mars. The clue: the chemical compound silica. Lots of silica. The sleuths: a savvy band of Earthbound researchers whose agent on Mars is NASA’s laser-flashing, one-armed mobile laboratory, Curiosity.

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found much higher concentrations of silica at some sites it has investigated in the past seven months than anywhere else it has visited since landing on Mars 40 months ago.

This May 22, 2015, view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) in NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the "Marias Pass" area where a lower and older geological unit of mudstone -- the pale zone in the center of the image -- lies in contact with an overlying geological unit of sandstone. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This May 22, 2015, view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) in NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the “Marias Pass” area where a lower and older geological unit of mudstone — the pale zone in the center of the image — lies in contact with an overlying geological unit of sandstone. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover examines minerals on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Scientists now have a better understanding about a site with the most chemically diverse mineral veins NASA’s Curiosity rover has examined on Mars, thanks in part to a valuable new resource scientists used in analyzing data from the rover.

Curiosity examined bright and dark mineral veins in March 2015 at a site called “Garden City,” where some veins protrude as high as two finger widths above the eroding bedrock in which they formed.

This March 27, 2015, view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows a site with a network of prominent mineral veins below a cap rock ridge on lower Mount Sharp. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This March 27, 2015, view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows a site with a network of prominent mineral veins below a cap rock ridge on lower Mount Sharp. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover to analysis select rocks at Mount Sharp

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has completed a reconnaissance “walkabout” of the first outcrop it reached at the base of the mission’s destination mountain and has begun a second pass examining selected rocks in the outcrop in more detail.

Exposed layers on the lower portion of Mount Sharp are expected to hold evidence about dramatic changes in the environmental evolution of Mars. That was a major reason NASA chose this area of Mars for this mission.

The lowermost of these slices of time ascending the mountain includes a pale outcrop called “Pahrump Hills.”

This small ridge, about 3 feet (1 meter) long, appears to resist wind erosion more than the flatter plates around it. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This small ridge, about 3 feet (1 meter) long, appears to resist wind erosion more than the flatter plates around it. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover catches Flash images from ChemCam laser firing on Martian Rock

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Flashes appear on a baseball-size Martian rock in a series of images taken Saturday, July 12th by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the arm of NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover. The flashes occurred while the rover’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument fired multiple laser shots to investigate the rock’s composition.

ChemCam’s laser has zapped more than 600 rock and soil targets on Mars since Curiosity landed in the planet’s Gale Crater in August 2012.

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover surpasses 100,000 firings of ChemCam Infrared Laser

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has passed the milestone of 100,000 shots fired by its laser. It uses the laser as one way to check which chemical elements are in rocks and soils.

The 100,000th shot was one of a series of 300 to investigate 10 locations on a rock called “Ithaca” in late October, at a distance of 13 feet, 3 inches (4.04 meters) from the laser and telescope on rover’s mast.

Since landing on Mars in August 2012, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has fired the laser on its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument more than 100,000 times at rock and soil targets up to about 23 feet (7 meters) away. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/UNM)

Since landing on Mars in August 2012, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has fired the laser on its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument more than 100,000 times at rock and soil targets up to about 23 feet (7 meters) away. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/UNM)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover data reveals Pebble Rocks on Mars came from Ancient Streambed

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity investigated pebble-containing slabs on Mars last year. Researchers’ have completed a detailed analysis and review of these slabs. The initial interpretation of the pebbled slabs is that they are part of an ancient streambed.

The rocks are the first ever found on Mars that contain streambed gravels. The sizes and shapes of the gravels embedded in these conglomerate rocks — from the size of sand particles to the size of golf balls — enabled researchers to calculate the depth and speed of the water that once flowed at this location.

This set of images compares the Link outcrop of rocks on Mars (left) with similar rocks seen on Earth (right). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS and PSI)

This set of images compares the Link outcrop of rocks on Mars (left) with similar rocks seen on Earth (right). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS and PSI)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover data reveals remaining atmosphere on Mars is still active

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationVienna,¬†Austria – Mars has lost much of its original atmosphere, but what’s left remains quite active, recent findings from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity indicate. Rover team members reported diverse findings today at the European Geosciences Union 2013 General Assembly, in Vienna.

Evidence has strengthened this month that Mars lost much of its original atmosphere by a process of gas escaping from the top of the atmosphere.

This image shows the first holes into rock drilled by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, with drill tailings around the holes plus piles of powdered rock collected from the deeper hole and later discarded after other portions of the sample had been delivered to analytical instruments inside the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This image shows the first holes into rock drilled by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, with drill tailings around the holes plus piles of powdered rock collected from the deeper hole and later discarded after other portions of the sample had been delivered to analytical instruments inside the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity moves closer to Martian Rock selected for first Drilling

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is driving toward a flat rock with pale veins that may hold clues to a wet history on the Red Planet. If the rock meets rover engineers’ approval when Curiosity rolls up to it in coming days, it will become the first to be drilled for a sample during the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

The size of a car, Curiosity is inside Mars’ Gale Crater investigating whether the planet ever offered an environment favorable for microbial life. Curiosity landed in the crater five months ago to begin its two-year prime mission.

This view shows the patch of veined, flat-lying rock selected as the first drilling site for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This view shows the patch of veined, flat-lying rock selected as the first drilling site for NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity to drill rock in ditch on Mars named Yellowknife Bay

 

Written Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The NASA Mars rover Curiosity this week is driving within a shallow depression called “Yellowknife Bay,” providing information to help researchers choose a rock to drill.

Using Curiosity’s percussive drill to collect a sample from the interior of a rock, a feat never before attempted on Mars, is the mission’s priority for early 2013. After the powdered-rock sample is sieved and portioned by a sample-processing mechanism on the rover’s arm, it will be analyzed by instruments inside Curiosity.

The NASA Mars rover Curiosity used its left Navigation Camera to record this view of the step down into a shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay." (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The NASA Mars rover Curiosity used its left Navigation Camera to record this view of the step down into a shallow depression called “Yellowknife Bay.” (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity’s fourth scoop of Martian Soil to be analyzed by Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument this week

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shook a scoopful of dusty sand inside its sample-handling mechanism on Sol 75 (October 21st, 2012) as the third scrubbing of interior surfaces of the mechanism.

The rover team is instructing the rover to deliver a sieved sample from this scoopful — the mission’s fourth — onto Curiosity’s observation tray on October 22nd and plans to analyze another sample from the same scoopful with the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument later this week.

The Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used its laser and spectrometers to examine what chemical elements are in a drift of Martian sand during the mission's 74th Martian day, or sol (October 20th, 2012). Image (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGN/CNRS)

The Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity used its laser and spectrometers to examine what chemical elements are in a drift of Martian sand during the mission’s 74th Martian day, or sol (October 20th, 2012). Image (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGN/CNRS)

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