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NASA’s Mars rover finds rock with Earth-like chemistry

Washington, Oct 15 (): The first rock collected by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover was tested and said that the rock is more unusual than the Red planet’s rock, but scientists have learnt that the rock is more similar to a rock found on Earth.

Three weeks ago for the first time, Curiosity rover took a football size pyramid shape rock using its robotic arm. The rock was named “Jake Matijevic.” The sample rock was shot with a laser dozens of times.

When Curiosity rover studied the rock, Jake Matijevic 3 weeks ago, the rock was not expected to have more scientific value; it was thought it was just an early chance to make use of the robot’s analysis instruments in unison.

Jake Matijevic drew its first attention through its weathered appearance. Then, the rover team used two instruments to study the chemical makeup of the rock. Jake Matijevic was the first rock analysed by the rover’s arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument and about the thirtieth rock examined by the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument.

Scientists were surprised; they said on Thursday the rock was found to be high in elements consistent with the mineral feldspar, such as sodium and potassium, and low in elements such as magnesium and iron. It is not similar to the other rocks found on Mars.

Edward Stolper said the rock resembles more of igneous rocks formed from the molten material, which are found on Earth in some places like Hawaii. Those rocks are formed under high pressure, deep underground and once contained water. They do not know the age of the Martian rock.

Curiosity Rover landed in August in the Mars’ equatorial region Gale Crater, and has almost driven 500m eastwards since then. The goal of Curiosity is to determine if the Gale ever held environments that allowed microbial life to flourish.