NASA / JPL-CALTECH / AMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL-CALTECH / AMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Martian soil sample, X-ray diffraction analysis. This image shows the results of the first analysis of Martian soil by the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) experiment on NASA's Curiosity rover. The patterns reveal the presence of crystalline feldspar, pyroxenes and olivine mixed with some amorphous (non-crystalline) material. The soil sample, taken from a wind-blown deposit called 'Rocknest' within Gale Crater, where the rover landed, is similar to volcanic soils in Hawaii. The sample was obtained on 15 October 2012. X-ray diffraction analysis identifies minerals by their unique diffraction pattern. The Curiosity rover is part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. It landed on Mars on 6 August 2012, on a mission to investigate the Martian climate and geology.
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