NASA: Another achievement for Curiosity Rover, Finds Silica on Mars

NASA has achieved another landmark after the Curiosity Rover has located a high concentrations of silica which is a rock-forming chemical on Mars as it would help the scientists to get more information about the ancient wet environment on the red planet.

Curiosity discovered much higher concentrations of silica at some sites it has studied in the past seven months than anywhere else it has actually gone to because landing on Mars 40 months earlier.

Silica makes up nine-tenths of the structure of a few of the rocks. It is a rock-forming chemical integrating the aspects silicon and oxygen, frequently seen on Earth as quartz, however likewise in numerous other minerals.

“These high-silica structures are a puzzle. You can boost the concentration of silica either by seeping away other components while leaving the silica behind, or by adding silica from elsewhere,” stated Albert Yen, an Interest science team member at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.


“Either of those processes include water. If we can figure out which happened, we’ll find out more about other conditions in those ancient wet environments,” stated Yen.

Water that is acidic would have the tendency to bring other active ingredients away and leave silica behind. Alkaline or neutral water might add liquified silica that would be deposited from the solution.

The recent findings on Mount Sharp have appealing threads connected to exactly what an earlier NASA rover, Spirit, found midway around Mars. There, indications of sulfuric level of acidity were observed, but Interest’s science group is still thinking about both situations to describe the findings on Mount Sharp.

Some silica at one rock Interest drilled, called “Buckskin,” remains in a mineral named tridymite, unusual in the world and never seen prior to on Mars.

The typical origin of tridymite on Earth involves high temperatures in metamorphic or igneous rocks, but the finely layered sedimentary rocks analyzed by Interest have actually been interpreted as lakebed deposits.

In addition, tridymite is found in volcanic deposits with high silica material. Rocks on Mars’ surface area generally have less silica, like basalts in Hawaii, though some silica-rich (silicic) rocks have been found by Mars orbiters and rovers.

Magma, the molten source material of volcanoes, can progress on Earth to end up being silicic. Tridymite found at Buckskin might be proof for magmatic development on Mars.

Curiosity has been studying geological layers of Mount Sharp, going uphill, considering that 2014, after 2 years of efficient work on the plains surrounding the mountain.

The objective provided evidence in its first year that lakes in the location billions of years ago offered favourable conditions for life, if microorganisms ever survived on Mars.

As Interest reaches successively more youthful layers up Mount Sharp’s slopes, the objective is studying how ancient ecological conditions evolved from lakes, rivers and deltas to the harsh aridity these days’s Mars.