NASA Curiosity rover takes a bite of Martian soil

NASA Curiosity rover takes a bite of Martian soil

Credit: Getty Images for adidas

MARS - OCTOBER 7: In this handout from NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, shows a scoop of sand and dust during the first use of the scoop on the robotic arm October 7, 2012 on Mars. According to NASA, after discovering a bright object in the bottom right to the frame, it was decided that they would not use the robotic arm on October 8, and instead acquire additional images of the bright object. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via Getty Images)

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KMOV.com

Posted on October 31, 2012 at 10:32 AM

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- Scientists say the Martian soil at the rover Curiosity's landing site contains minerals similar to what's found on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano.

   The finding released Tuesday is the latest step in trying to better understand whether the environment could have been hospitable to microbial life.

   Curiosity recently ingested its first soil sample and used one of its instruments to tease out the minerals present. An analysis revealed it contained feldspar and olivine, minerals typically associated with volcanic eruptions. Mission scientists say the Martian soil is similar to volcanic soil on the flanks of Mauna Kea.

   Curiosity landed near the Martian equator in August on a two-year mission. It'll be another month before it drills into its first rock. Then it's expected to head toward a mountain by year's end.
 

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