Curiosity is spending its weekend on Mars at its latest drill location investigating asymmetry, called Braces. The rover has discovered an unusual rock showing some strange colors, so scientists will use the rover’s chemistry tool to learn more about this unexpected object.
On a three-day weekend plan for the rover, it will examine the platy rock target – a type of igneous rock divided into flat sheets. The rock can be seen in the image below, just above Curiosity’s hand. After this work, Rover Mars (SAM) will use its sample analysis on equipment that analyzes organic molecules and gases from the atmosphere and from samples, and then using its CamCam instrument to return to bremish and other rocks Analyzes a laser on a fire target to evaporate portions of them and analyze their composition.
Curiosity is currently on a “summer road trip” as it slowly climbs Mount Sharp, huge mountains rising from the floor of the Gayle Crater. The rover occurs in an area called a soil-bearing unit, which is named because of the presence of clay minerals in the soil. It is now moving towards the sulfate-bearing unit, which, as its name suggests, contains sulfates such as gypsum and epsom salts in the soil. These sulfates are of particular interest because they often form when water evaporates, so their presence may give a clue to the history of water on Mars.
Scientists know that there was once water on the surface of Mars, and could even provide a habitable environment for life. The possibility that there was ancient life on Mars has been the subject of intense study, with Rovers working to investigate this question for decades.
Abigail Freeman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who has served as deputy project scientist for both missions, “Curiosity was designed to go beyond exploring the opportunity for water history.” “We are exposing an ancient world that set foot longer than life was realized.”
The quest for ancient life will continue with persistence, the latest rover, scheduled to launch in just a few weeks.