NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity today set a record by finding soil on the red planet that resembles ‘weathered,volcanic sand in Hawai.’
“In the first inventory of minerals on another planet, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity found soil that bears a striking resemblance to weathered, volcanic sand in Hawaii’,said a byline Reuter report by Irene Klotz
Another report flashed by NASA on its portal informed that Curiosity used “Mars Hand Lens Imager”to photograph the diverse rocks in the Mars’ “Rocknest area and prepared for an overnight analysis of a soil sample by the Chemistry and Mineralogy Instrument.”
Stating that rover utilizes “an X-ray imager to reveal the atomic structures of crystals in the Martian soil, the first time the technology, known as X-ray diffraction, has been used to analyze soil beyond Earth”,Reuter’s report quoting NASA’s lead scientist for the rover’s mineralogical instrument David Blake said:”This was a 22-year journey and a magical moment for me.”
“Curiosity found that the Martian sand grains have crystals similar to basaltic soils found in volcanic regions on Earth, like Hawaii…Scientists plan to use the information about Mars’ minerals to figure out if the planet most like Earth in the solar system could have supported and preserved microbial life”,said the same report.
So far nothing concrete was known about the mineralogy of the Mars’ soil.The finding is considered useful information for understanding of the present and past climates of Mars.
The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the arm of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity took this image of a rock called “Et-Then” during the mission’s 82nd sol, or Martian day (Oct. 29, 2012.) Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS