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Martian Rocks Rich in Silicon

Data from the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity show an unusual enrichment of silicon in the rocks dubbed "Wildrose" and "Bonanza King," relative to other rocks studied at Gale Crater on Mars, where the rover landed. This same enrichment had been seen by earlier missions to Mars (labeled in red), and even in Mars meteorites (black). The Bonanza King rock is most similar to "Fuzzy Smith" in silicon abundance. Fuzzy Smith, studied by the rover Spirit at Gusev Crater, indicated a past aqueous environment.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.

More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/ University of Guelph

Page Last Updated: September 11th, 2014
Page Editor: Kimberly Orr