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Posted by on Oct 12, 2012 in Science |

Curiosity is a type of rock that had not been seen on Mars so far

Curiosity is a type of rock that had not been seen on Mars so far

(C) NASA

Some will remember the rock “Jake Matijevic” , which began analyzing about two weeks ago and a half. After shooting rays and X-ray lasers and report their findings, determined that this rock is a variety never seen before on Mars.

It is a kind of volcanic rock, formed under high pressure and, in most cases, to the presence of water. Curiosity’s mission is to look for sedimentary rocks that may indicate past conditions of life, however, appears to have formed about 8,000 feet below the surface, so I can not give many clues.

The idea of this research was to test the rock arm rover instrument, as the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectometer (APXS), which releases and allows X-rays to determine the chemical composition of an object. ChemCam was also used to shoot a laser to rock about 400 times, microscopic portions of vaporizing material that was analyzed and plasma powder. Analysis indicated that the stone had large amounts of silicon, aluminum, sodium and potassium.

Scientists believe that this stone was formed in the interior of Mars, when magma moved toward a cooler rock. When the magma was cooled, elements such as nickel, iron, and magnesium were crystallized first, leaving behind material rich in silicon, aluminum, sodium and potassium, as well as water.

Although this is an unusual rock, researchers recalled that it is a single sample and which can not be extrapolated far from it.

The rock is called “Jake Matijevic” in honor of a NASA engineer who was in charge of the systems of all missions to have been made to date, and who died at age 64, shortly after the arrival Curiosity to Mars.

At the same conference, researchers discussed the mysterious glowing object above the ground photographed Curiosity , concluding that it is a piece of plastic material that fell off the robot itself, or a piece of pipe that broke off during the lowering process and flew there. In any case, would not affect in any way the operation of the robot.

Link: Mars Rock Touched by NASA Curiosity has Surprises (NASA)

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