Mineralogy and Paleo-Environment of Gale Crater, Mars

PIA19839_hiresImage Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mars Science Lab, better known as the Curiosity rover, is packed with instruments intended to help study the geology of Gale crater. One of these instruments, the CheMin X-ray diffractometer, analyzes powdered rock samples from drill tailings to determine what minerals make up the rocks along Curiosity’s traverse. The results so far tell us more than just what rocks make up Gale crater they also tell us about past environments and the climate on Mars when the rocks formed. A new article by Bristow et al. discusses the mineralogy of Gale crater, shows how this tells us there was a long-lived fluvial system, and how that fluvial system evolved with time. READ MORE »