Quantcast
Latest Stories

Mars rover finds Earth-like rock



This image from the right Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows a scoop full of sand and dust lifted by the rover’s first use of the scoop on its robotic arm. In the foreground, near the bottom of the image, a bright object is visible on the ground. NASA says a small bright object detected on Mars is likely a piece of plastic from the Curiosity rover. The six-wheel spacecraft captured an image of the puzzling object Monday, October 8, 2012, after scooping up Martian sand and dust over the weekend. In a statement Tuesday, the space agency says the plastic bit that fell off the rover is “benign.” While plans are continuing to positively identify it, NASA says it is not “Martian material.” AP/NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

WASHINGTON—A rock analyzed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa) Mars rover Curiosity has a surprising and more varied composition that resembles rare rocks from the bowels of our planet, the US space agency said on Thursday.

“This rock is a close match in chemical composition to an unusual but well-known type of igneous rock found in many volcanic provinces on Earth,” Curiosity coinvestigator Edward Stolper of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena said in a statement.

“With only one Martian rock of this type, it is difficult to know whether the same processes were involved, but it is a reasonable place to start thinking about its origin.”

On Earth, rocks with similar compositions usually come from “processes in the planet’s mantle beneath the crust, from the crystallization of relatively water-rich magna at elevated pressure,” according to the Nasa statement.

 

Jake Matijevic

Curiosity, on the Red Planet since Aug. 6, used two instruments to study the football-sized rock, which is dubbed Jake Matijevic, or Jake for short.

One was the arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer—known as APXS—and the other was the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument.

“Jake is kind of an odd Martian rock,” said APXS principal investigator Ralf Gellert of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. “It’s high in elements consistent with the mineral feldspar, and low in magnesium and iron.”

Nasa said the initial results were just a preview, noting that Curiosity also carries analytical laboratories inside the rover.

Next: Soil sample

Soon, it plans to analyze its first Martian soil sample.

“We used Curiosity’s first perfectly scooped sample for cleaning the interior surfaces of our 150-micron sample-processing chambers,” said Chris Roumeliotis, lead turret rover planner at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “It’s our version of a Martian car wash.”

Nasa has also determined that a bright object observed on the ground near the robot several days ago was just a bit of plastic that does not jeopardize the rover’s operations.

Curiosity is on a two-year, $2.5-billion mission to investigate whether it is possible to live on Mars and to learn whether conditions there might have been able to support life in the past.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Curiosity , Mars , Mars rover , NASA , National Aeronautics and Space Administration , Science & Health , Space exploration

  • blainz

    Wouldn’t it be something if the rock was from Earth? There are meteorites here from Mars, so there ought to be Earth stuff there too. It is exhilirating to think about “cross-fertilization” of life between two planets, should life have sprung up on Mars in past ages.

    Another thing, the comments section in the sciences are usually slow. Should Curiosity find evidence of life on Mars, expect an explosion of comments – half of it with crazy conspiracy/scifi stuff and the other half a science vs. religion debate.

    Sadly, the sciences get the masses’ attention only when it bumps too noticeably with inane ideas dearly held.

  • http://twitter.com/MarLouWang Marlou Wang

    Yung sand kulay chocolate na hinaluan ng Klim. Sarap!



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  • Like Passover, Easter festival of deliverance
  • How other faiths in PH observe Holy Week
  • Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  • Cardinal Tagle: Start new life with true peace
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Ateneo eyes quarterfinal spot vs Benilde
  • Style contrast marks OneFC ‘Rise of Heroes’
  • ‘Pacquiao a great ambassador for basketball’
  • Lifestyle

  • How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  • Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Entertainment

  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Awarded TV couple brings Jesus’ life to the big screen
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • Marketplace