Home > Astronomy, Curiosity, Mars, Solar System, Spaceflight, Unmanned Spaceflight > ChemCam Follows The ‘Yellowknife Road’ To Martian Wet Area: Instrument Confirms Presence Of Gypsum And Related Minerals

ChemCam Follows The ‘Yellowknife Road’ To Martian Wet Area: Instrument Confirms Presence Of Gypsum And Related Minerals


Credit: NASA Photo

Credit: NASA Photo

Researchers from the Mars Science Laboratory’s ChemCam team described how the laser instrument aboard the Curiosity Rover—an SUV-sized vehicle studying the surface of the Red Planet—has detected veins of gypsum running through an area known as Yellowknife Bay, located some 700 meters away from where the Curiosity Rover landed five months ago.

“These veins are composed mainly of hydrated calcium sulfate, such as bassinite or gypsum,” said ChemCam team member Nicolas Mangold, of the Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique de Nantes, in Nantes, France. “On Earth, forming veins like these requires water circulating in fractures.”

Gypsum and some related minerals can be formed when water reacts with other rocks and minerals. The presence of gypsum and its cousin, bassinite, along with physical evidence of alluvial flow patterns previously seen during the Mars Science Laboratory mission, could indicate that the Yellowknife Bay area once was home to ponds created by runoff or subsurface water that had percolated to the surface, said ChemCam team member Sam Clegg of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Full Story: http://www.lanl.gov/newsroom/news-releases/2013/January/01.15-chemcam-follows-yellowknife-road.php

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