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 Curiosityโ€™s traverse. The results so far tell us more than just what rocks make up Gale crater โ€” 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.ย READ MORE ยป