Feeds

Curiosity finds . . . wait for it . . . a ROCK on MARS!

Tales of an Earth-like igneous rock named Jake

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

NASA reports that the first Martian rock it has examined with the Curiosity's arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) shows curious similarities to a rare form of mineral found on Earth.

The rock, named "Jake Matijevic" after a JPL engineer who died just after Curiosity landed on Mars, was lasered 30 times on 14 analysis points by the rover in an attempt to discover the process that formed it. The APXS results show that it closely resembles rocks found on the volcanic islands of Hawaii and St. Helena that are formed when relatively water-rich magma is pressurized in an unusual way.

"When you make magma of this type on Earth it takes particular conditions of crystallization," said Edward Stolper of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena during a press conference on Thursday. "Typically it takes place at relatively high pressure, at least several thousands of bars, and also takes place in conditions with relatively elevated amounts of water that is dissolved in the magma."

The process is similar to how the American settlers used to make apple liquor, or applejack, back in the day, he explained: by placing barrels of apple cider in snow drifts and skimming off water as it crystalized, leaving hard liquor behind.

In this case, the magma goes through cooling, which eliminates feldspar and other minerals from the rock before it hardens. On Earth, such minerals are then typically scattered by volcanic eruptions, but Stolper warned that it was too early to say if this was the reason for the formation of Jake.

jake

No, that's not graffiti on Jake – those are NASA's aiming points highlighted

The rock is a pyramid-shaped lump of minerals, probably similar to basalt. Curiosity will now rumble forward another 100 yards to the east of its current position and begin drilling into the Martian crust for more samples. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.