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Published January 24, 2014 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Volatile and Organic Compositions of Sedimentary Rocks in Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars


H₂O, CO₂, SO₂, O₂, H₂, H₂S, HCl, chlorinated hydrocarbons, NO and other trace gases were evolved during pyrolysis of two mudstone samples acquired by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay within Gale crater, Mars. H₂O/OH-bearing phases included 2:1 phyllosilicate(s), bassanite, akaganeite, and amorphous materials. Thermal decomposition of carbonates and combustion of organic materials are candidate sources for the CO₂. Concurrent evolution of O₂ and chlorinated hydrocarbons suggest the presence of oxychlorine phase(s). Sulfides are likely sources for S-bearing species. Higher abundances of chlorinated hydrocarbons in the mudstone compared with Rocknest windblown materials previously analyzed by Curiosity suggest that indigenous martian or meteoritic organic C sources may be preserved in the mudstone; however, the C source for the chlorinated hydrocarbons is not definitively of martian origin.

Additional Information

Copyright 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Submitted Manuscript: 7 November 2013. Received for publication 28 August 2013. Accepted for publication 12 November 2013. Published Online December 9 2013. The authors are indebted to the Mars Science Laboratory Project engineering and management teams for making this mission possible and enhancing science operations. Much of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA provided support for the development of SAM. Data from these SAM experiments are archived in the Planetary Data System (pds.nasa.gov). Essential contributions to the successful operation of SAM on Mars and the acquisition of this data were provided by the SAM development, operations, and testbed teams. Development and operation of the SAM and APXS instruments were also supported by funds from the French Space Agency, CNES and the Canadian Space Agency. Work in the UK was funded by the UK Space Agency. B. L. E., J. L. E., K. F., D. P. G., J. E. G, K. E. M., S. M. M., J. M., P. B. N., and R. E. S. acknowledge funding support from the NASA ROSES MSL Participating Scientist Program.

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Accepted Version - Ming_et_al_2013_Science_Sheepbed_Volatiles_Accepted.pdf


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