MARS CURIOSITY FINDS MORE EVIDENCE OF LIFE-SUPPORTING ELEMENTS

PIA16797_MAHLI_of_Tintina-thmCuriosity rover’s wheel cracked open this rock, “Tintina,” and exposed white, hydrated minerals inside.   Photo credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS  Photo taken by Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam), built and operated by Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS), San Diego

Curiosity cracked this 1.2” by 1.6” rock in the Yellowknife Bay area of the Gale Crater where it had touched down last August.  The exposed white substance is most likely calcium sulfate.

Curiosity had previously found signs of hydrated minerals forming veins in the various rock layers in the Yellowknife Bay area. The presence of these minerals suggests that the area had been, at one time, rich in water and possibly in life as well.

The possibility is bolstered by last week’s discovery of clay minerals at a drill site, indicating that the rocks may have formed in neutral water.

After comparing “Tintina’s” substance to similarly bright material filling veins in the bedrock of Yellowstone Bay, scientists believe the substance is the same.

They further conjecture that the rocks and bedrock themselves had been fractured at some point, allowing water to flow through them and deposit the minerals Curiosity is discovering today.

PIA16796_ip A hydration intensity map, based on Mastcam Spectra, for “Tintina”     Photo credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, taken by MastCam

In this photo of “Tintina,” the color-coded bar on the right assigns the relative strength of its mineral hydration—almost over the top.

Notice the specks of weaker strengths of mineral hydration indicated in the bedrock surrounding the rock specimen.

Source:   examiner, March 19, 2013     jpl.nasa.gov/space images, March 18 and 19, 2013

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s