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Posted by on Nov 1, 2012 in Science |

The soil on Mars is similar to Hawaii

The soil on Mars is similar to Hawaii

(Cc) flickr Morgan Garvin

Early experiments by in Martian soil has begun to show results, some amazing, among whom it was learned that the mineralogy of has compositions similar to that of basaltic volcanic soils found in Hawaii.

The analysis resulted in a composition consisting of feldspar, pyroxene and olivine, which according to David Bish of Indiana University and CheMin team “was something that pn us, even though we had an incomplete understanding of Martian mineralogy “.

The soil composition is the same as that in the volcanic basaltic material of Hawaii, of meteoric origin.

The Curiosity instrument used his chemistry and mineralogy, CheMin name, to analyze the composition of the soil and the fine powder spread on their way Martian.

As said David Blake, scientific CheMin team leader, there were many previous discussions on the mineralogy of Mars: “Our results provide a refined quantitative and in some cases new identifications of in the first analyzes of X-ray diffraction on Mars.”

This type of analysis of X-ray diffraction is the same used by geologists on Earth in their laboratory instruments, which provides more accurate identification of the minerals, and that “reads” the internal structure of each, unlike analysis of the age and evolution of a mineral, which only provides inaccurate information.

To illustrate this process, Blake recalls that two such different minerals both in structure and properties as diamond and graphite, through the study of their chemical composition is obtained as a result they are equal.

The X-ray diffracting mini installed on Curiosity processes samples in a sieve to exclude particles larger than 0.006 inches (150 micrometers) and identifies two components, the overall powder distributed by fine sand storms and local origin.

Unlike the analyzed rocks weeks ago, they have billions of years old, and they are the main source of research to conclude whether the Martian soil once had flowing water on its surface, these analyzes of dust and sand allow processes to meet current soil evolution.

Link: Curiosity Mars Rover Finds similar to Hawaii’s soil (BBC Science)

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