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Viewings: 2945Curiosity Rover completed the first detailed x-ray structure analysis of Martian sand and determined that he will be like volcanic soil, which can be found in places such as, for example, shield volcano Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
View Rocknet in natural colors (left) and with lighting, close to earth. (Image from NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS.)
During the month Rover drew and filtered samples of the Martian regolith in the field Rocknet. And only now he begins to justify its original name - the Mars Science Laboratory, performing research that is on the red planet has never been done. None of the previous landing modules or Rovers was not capable of diffraction of x-rays, because the necessary equipment, as a rule the size of a refrigerator. Thanks to the engineers who have managed to reduce the equipment to the dimensions of the boxes of shoes and make it less energy intensive.
The soil sample volume with aspirin went in cell analyzer CheMin, which can vibrate with a frequency of two thousand times per second. The sand is as follows shook, then "handled" by x-ray radiation. It penetrated into tiny grains, defining the distance between atoms and unambiguously answer the question about present minerals and their number.
CheMin showed the presence of crystalline feldspar, pyroxenes and olivine, which on Earth can be formed by volcanic processes and are broken down into the sand by wind, rain, or running water. This is not surprising: scientists in the past have found all of these minerals on Mars, just for the first time managed to locate them directly.
The results of the analysis: in addition to crystalline detected non-crystalline material. The color corresponds to the intensity of x-ray radiation. (Image from NASA / JPL-Caltech / Ames.)
Prepared according to Wired.
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