Soil Diversity and Hydration as Observed by ChemCam at Gale Crater, Mars

Research areas:
  • P-Y. Meslin
  • O. Gasnault
  • O. Forni
  • S. Schroeder
  • A. Cousin
  • G. Berger
  • S. M. Clegg
  • J. Lasue
  • S. Maurice
  • V. Sautter
  • Stéphane Le Mouélic
  • R. C. Wiens
  • C. Fabre
  • W. Goetz
  • D. Bish
  • Nicolas Mangold
  • B. Ehlmann
  • N. Lanza
  • A-M. Harri
  • R. Anderson
  • E. Rampe
  • T. H. McConnochie
  • P. Pinet
  • D. Blaney
  • R. Leveille
  • D. Archer
  • B. Barraclough
  • S. Bender
  • D. Blake
  • J. G. Blank
  • N. Bridges
  • B. C. Clark
  • L. DeFlores
  • D. Delapp
  • G. Dromart
  • M. D. Dyar
  • M. Fisk
  • B. Gondet
  • J. Grotzinger
  • K. Herkenhoff
  • J. Johnson
  • J-L. Lacour
  • Y. Langevin
  • L. Leshin
  • E. Lewin
  • M. B. Madsen
  • N. Melikechi
  • A. Mezzacappa
  • M. A. Mischna
  • J. E. Moores
  • H. Newsom
  • A. Ollila
  • R. Perez
  • N. Renno
  • J-B. Sirven
  • R. Tokar
  • M. de la Torre
  • L. d'
  • Uston
  • D. Vaniman
  • A. Yingst
  • MSL Sci Team
SEP 27
The ChemCam instrument, which provides insight into martian soil
chemistry at the submillimeter scale, identified two principal soil
types along the Curiosity rover traverse: a fine-grained mafic type and
a locally derived, coarse-grained felsic type. The mafic soil component
is representative of widespread martian soils and is similar in
composition to the martian dust. It possesses a ubiquitous hydrogen
signature in ChemCam spectra, corresponding to the hydration of the
amorphous phases found in the soil by the CheMin instrument. This
hydration likely accounts for an important fraction of the global
hydration of the surface seen by previous orbital measurements. ChemCam
analyses did not reveal any significant exchange of water vapor between
the regolith and the atmosphere. These observations provide constraints
on the nature of the amorphous phases and their hydration.