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Water on Mars more acidic than previously thought

Fri, Feb 06, 2015, 12:17 PM
Washington, Feb 6: A new Martian sample taken by NASA's Curiosity rover hints at water that was more acidic than evidenced in its first drill at Mount Sharp - a layered rock record of ancient Martian environment.

The rover used a new, low-percussion-level drilling technique to collect sample powder from a rock target called "Mojave 2."

The first sample of the mountain's base layer came from a target called "Confidence Hills".

"The analysis shows a significant amount of jarosite, an oxidised mineral containing iron and sulfur that forms in acidic environments," NASA said in a statement.

"Our initial assessment of the newest sample indicates that it has much more jarosite than Confidence Hills," said David Vaniman, deputy principal investigator of the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona.

The minerals in "Confidence Hills" indicate less acidic conditions of formation.

Curiosity reached the base of Mount Sharp five months ago after two years of examining other sites inside Gale Crater and driving toward the mountain at the crater's centre.
Agency: IANS
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