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Published September 27, 2013 | public
Journal Article

Soil Diversity and Hydration as Observed by ChemCam at Gale Crater, Mars


The ChemCam instrument, which provides insight into martian soil chemistry at the submillimeter scale, identified two principal soil types along the Curiosity rover traverse: a fine-grained mafic type and a locally derived, coarse-grained felsic type. The mafic soil component is representative of widespread martian soils and is similar in composition to the martian dust. It possesses a ubiquitous hydrogen signature in ChemCam spectra, corresponding to the hydration of the amorphous phases found in the soil by the CheMin instrument. This hydration likely accounts for an important fraction of the global hydration of the surface seen by previous orbital measurements. ChemCam analyses did not reveal any significant exchange of water vapor between the regolith and the atmosphere. These observations provide constraints on the nature of the amorphous phases and their hydration.

Additional Information

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 3 April 2013; accepted 15 August 2013. This research was carried out with funding from the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Work in the United States was carried out under contract from NASA's Mars Program Office. W.G. acknowledges partial funding from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft grant GO 2288/1-1. This team gratefully acknowledges JPL for developing and leading this successful mission. The data reported in this paper are archived at the Planetary Data System, accessible at http://pds-geosciences.wustl. edu/missions/msl/index.htm.

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