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Friday, October 12, 2012

Found a rock on Mars with terrestrial features

CAPE CANAVERAL (Reuters) - When scientists selected a stone to test the laser robot on Mars Curiosity, expected to enclose the same raw materials as the stones found in other areas of the Red Planet, but in its place realized that it was more similar to rocks found on Earth.

The stone was chemically more like an unusual rock type found on oceanic islands like Hawaii and Santa Elena, and in continental areas with cracks as the Rio Grande, which stretches from Colorado to Chihuahua, Mexico.

"It was a bit of a surprise what we found with this stone," said Ralf Gellert Curiosity scientist at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, during a teleconference with reporters Thursday.

"It volcano" said Gellert, referring to melt rock formed. "But it seems to be a new species of the type of rock found on Mars."

The robot reached Mars Curiosity two months ago to see if the planet most like Earth in the solar system was suitable for microbial life.

On laser was used to break the rock Curiosity and analyzed robot powdered material and the hole left behind, to determine its chemical composition.

They found that the stone lacks magnesium and iron, found in volcanic rock elements examined by the rovers Spirit and Opportunity on Mars previously.

The stone was also rich in minerals feldspar-like, giving clues about the history of rock.

"The way in which way this rock (...) is as was the apple brandy," said geologist Edward Stolper Reuters.
In colonial times apple cider was placed in large barrels and winter froze the liquid part.

"You had crystallized ice and did more and more and more concentrated liquor flavored apple," Stolper said.
The magma inside a planet can undergo a similar process.

"Melt the inside and comes to the surface and, like the apple brandy, when enfrías, crystallized," Stolper said, adding that they require very specific conditions on Earth to produce this type of magma.

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