Digging deep into Martian soil

NASA's rover takes a closer look at Mars' surface

NASA’s Curiosity rover isn’t leaving just tire tracks in the reddish Martian dust — it’s also leaving scoop marks in an area called Rocknest, about 480 meters away from where the rover touched down in August.

NASA’s Curiosity rover is hard at work analyzing samples from Mars’ surface, leaving behind scoop marks like this one as it goes. JPL-Caltech/NASA, MSSS

On October 30, NASA announced that the rover had completed its first detailed analysis of the Martian surface using the CheMin X-ray analysis instrument, which shoots X-rays into collected samples.

The results suggest that the Rocknest soil is rich in minerals such as olivine, feldspar and pyroxene, much like patches of weathered volcanic soil in Hawaii.

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