Mars Habitability? Curiosity Rover Spots Intriguing Mineral On Red Planet
A view from the Curiosity rover on Sol 794 (Oct. 31, 2014) from its outpost at the base of Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA’s Curiosity rover has struck hematite — an iron-oxide mineral often associated with water-soaked environments — in its first drill hole inside the huge Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons) on Mars. While in this case oxidization is more important to its formation, the sample’s oxidization shows that the area had enough chemical energy to support microbes, NASA said.
Hematite is not a new discovery for Curiosity or Mars rovers generally, but what excites scientists is this confirms observations from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that spotted hematite from orbit in the Pahrump Hills, the area that Curiosity is currently roving.
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