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This graphic from NASA's Curiosity mission shows close-ups of light-toned veins in rocks in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars together with analyses of their composition.
01.15.2013
Calcium-Rich Veins in Martian Rocks
This graphic from NASA's Curiosity mission shows close-ups of light-toned veins in rocks in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars together with analyses of their composition.

The top part of the image shows a close-up of the rock named "Crest," taken by the remote micro-imager (RMI) on Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument above the analysis of the elements detected by using ChemCam's laser to zap the target. The spectral profile of Crest's light-colored vein is shown in red, while that of a basaltic calibration target of known composition is shown in black.

The bottom part of the image shows ChemCam's close-up of the rock named "Rapitan" with the analysis of its elemental composition. The spectral profile of Rapitan's light-colored vein is shown in blue, while that of a basaltic calibration target of known composition is shown in black. These results suggest the veins are unlike typical basaltic material. They are depleted in silica and composed of a calcium-bearing mineral.

The ChemCam instrument took the RMI pictures and zapped lasers on Crest on Dec. 13, 2012, or the 125th sol, or Martian day, of operations. The ChemCam instrument took the RMI pictures and zapped lasers on Rapitan on Dec. 23, 2012, or the 135th sol, or Martian day, of operations.

An unannotated version of the Rapitan image is available here.

An unannotated version of the Crest image is available here.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGNantes/CNRS

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