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Within its first three months on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity Rover saw a surprising diversity of soils and sediments along a half-kilometer route that tell a complex story about the gradual desiccation of the Red Planet.
Perhaps most notable among findings from the ChemCam team is that all of the dust and fine soil contains small amounts of water.
“We made this discovery literally with the very first laser shot on the Red Planet,” said Roger Wiens, leader of the ChemCam instrument team. “Every single time we shot at dust we saw a significant hydrogen peak.”
In a series of five papers covering the rover’s top discoveries during its first three months on Mars that appear today in the journal Science, Los Alamos researchers using the rover’s ChemCam instrument team up with an international cadre of scientists affiliated with the CheMin, APXS, and SAM instruments to describe the planet’s seemingly once-volcanic and aquatic history.
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