nov 262013
 
Which Ancient Minerals Gave Rise to Life?

  Life originated as a result of natural processes that exploited early Earth’s raw materials. Scientific models of life’s origins almost always look to minerals for such essential tasks as the synthesis of life’s molecular building blocks or the supply of metabolic energy. But this assumes that the mineral species found on Earth today are [continue reading]

apr 032013
 
Lunar Crater Contains Traces of Before it was Formed

  Large impacts on the Moon can form wide craters and turn surface rock liquid. Geophysicists once assumed that liquid rock would be homogenous when it cooled. Now researchers have found  evidence that pre-existing mineralogy can survive impact melt.    Pre-existing mineral deposits on the Moon (sinuous melt, above) survived impacts powerful enough to melt [continue reading]

jan 212013
 
Martian Crater May Once Have Held Groundwater-Fed Lake

  A NASA spacecraft is providing new evidence of a wet underground environment on Mars that adds to an increasingly complex picture of the Red Planet’s early evolution. This view of layered rocks on the floor of McLaughlin Crater shows sedimentary rocks that contain spectroscopic evidence for minerals formed through interaction with water. Image Credit: [continue reading]

jan 182013
 
Following the ‘Yellowknife Road’ to Martian Wet Area

    Instrument confirms presence of gypsum and related minerals   Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French Space Agency have tracked a trail of minerals that point to the prior presence of water at the Curiosity rover site on Mars. The Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity Rover recently took this photo of the [continue reading]

okt 192012
 
Mysterious Bright Particles on Mars Found

  NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has ingested its first solid sample into an analytical instrument inside the rover, a capability at the core of the two-year mission. The rover’s Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument is analyzing this sample to determine what minerals it contains.  This image shows part of the small pit or bite created when [continue reading]

aug 052012
 
Exploring the Chemistry of Mars

A researcher at The Open University in the UK will take part in a mission to explore the chemistry of Mars when Curiosity lands on the planet. The area where NASA’s Curiosity rover will land has a geological diversity that scientists are eager to investigate, as seen in this false-color map based on data from NASA’s [continue reading]