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MSL Update: Curiosity Finds Calcium-Rich Deposits

Justin Maki, the Engineering Camera Team Lead for the Mars Science Laboratory provides the latest Curiosity Rover Report from JPL and talks about how the rover has found calcium deposits on Mars similar to those seen on Earth when water circulates in cracks and rock fractures.

The set of images below shows the similarity of sulfate-rich veins seen on Curiosity rover to sulfate-rich veins seen on Earth. The view on the left is a mosaic of two shots from the remote micro-imager on Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on Dec. 14, 2012, or the 126th sol, or Martian day, of operations. They show a view of “Sheepbed” rock in the “Yellowknife Bay” area of Mars. The sulfate-rich veins are the light-colored veins about 1 to 5 millimeters (0.04 to 0.2 inches) wide.

Veins in Rocks on Mars and Earth. Ccredit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGNantes/CNRS/LGLyon/Planet-Terre

Veins in Rocks on Mars and Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGNantes/CNRS/LGLyon/Planet-Terre.

The image on the right is from the Egyptian desert on Earth. A pocket knife is shown for scale. (image courtesy of Pierre Thomas).

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Aqua4U January 20, 2013, 4:08 PM

    Chemosynthesis for life using Calcium and Methane or Chlorine? Cold seeps at the bottom of earthly seas come to mind here. Are there subterranean Martian analogs to our earthly mineral hot springs? Does the detailed thermal mapping survey done by the MGS TES instrument have the resolution to spot mineral or hot springs from orbit? No? Then lets get one up there! Exploring areas found with High-Calcium Pyroxene Abundance (http://www.mars.asu.edu/data/tes_clinopyroxene/ & http://tes.asu.edu/discoveries/2/ ) and where hot springs might exist (http://www.mars.asu.edu/data/themis_nightir/) might be key!

  • Kelly January 20, 2013, 10:40 PM

    I read here http://www.ficksitall.blogspot.com that NASA found signs of life on Mars, any truth to that?

    • Torbjörn Larsson January 21, 2013, 9:23 AM

      Curiosity and Opportunity (and earlier Spirit) has found many bodies that could be taken as indication of life, superficially like odd rock inclusions or more seriously as inclusions that can be associated with life and have to be excluded as such. Expect unsupported non-peer (i.e. not scientists, not even NASA personnel) claims invented on empty pattern recognition on any of those.

      If NASA has found signs of life, they will make a press release presenting peer reviewed results. That is what we have to look for.

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