Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oct 11 Teleconference

src: Curiosity Cam - ustream
  Today's MSL teleconference discussed the chemical composition of some of the rocks recently tested at Gale Crater with the main focus on Jake Matijevic. The images for the conference can be found on the NASA MSL telecon page and at the MSL Image Gallery. The rock Jake Matijevic was found to be have high concentrations of sodium, magnesium, aluminum and silicon and was a new type found on Mars. The closest rocks on Earth are found on the ocean floors. The process of their formation is referred to as alkalic. A melt such as that in a volcano can lose material through solidification which alters the composition of the melt leading to higher concentrations of some minerals. Water is also dissolved in the melt like cabon dioxide is dissolved in the liquid of a cola drink. The process was compared to the traditional method of producing cider. The cider is repeatedly frozen and the ice crystals are removed. The liquid remaining has a higher concentration of alcohol. Related geological processes are igneous differentiation, fractional crystalization and partial melting. It is difficult to deduce more about the conditions that led to the rock's formation since it is not known if it is part of a local rockbed or if it was relocated by meteor impact. The teleconference also discussed the first effort at decontamination of sample collection system and monitoring of the process.

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