The Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity Rover recently took this photo of the Martian landscape looking toward Mount Sharp while on its way toward Yellowknife Bay—an area where researchers have found minerals indicating the past presence of water. Credit: NASA

The ten science instruments on the MSL rover. Remote sensing instruments include Mastcam (Mast Camera) and ChemCam (Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy for Chemistry and Microimaging) located on the remote sensing mast. Contact science instruments include APXS (Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer) and MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager) located on the end of the robotic arm. Analytical laboratory instruments include CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) and SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) located inside the rover body. The environmental instruments include RAD (Radiation Assessment Detector), DAN (Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons), REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station), and MARDI (Mars Descent Imager). Credit: NASA

Trail of Minerals is Evidence for Mars Water

Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory press release
Posted: 01/18/13

Summary: Curiosity has tracked a trail of minerals on Mars that indicates water was once present in Gale Crater on Mars. Curiosity’s ChemCam instrument detected veins composed mainly of hydrated calcium sulfate, such as gypsum. On Earth, forming such features requires liquid water.

ChemCam follows 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.

Researchers from the Mars Science Laboratory’s ChemCam team today described how the laser instrument aboard the Curiosity Rover — an SUV-sized vehicle studying the surface of the Red Planet — has detected veins of gypsum running through an area known as Yellowknife Bay, located some 700 meters away from where the Curiosity Rover landed five months ago.

“These veins are composed mainly of hydrated calcium sulfate, such as bassinite or gypsum,” said ChemCam team member Nicolas Mangold, of the Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique de Nantes, in Nantes, France. “On Earth, forming veins like these requires water circulating in fractures.”

Read more: Trail of Minerals is Evidence for Mars Water — Astrobiology Magazine.

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