Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mini-Great Pyramid of Giza on Mars Intrigues Curiosity Rover Team

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Pyramid Shaped Rock On Mars

By Pete Spotts

     NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is eying a target for the first tandem test of two instruments crucial to the rover's mission of determining whether its new home, Gale Crater, as well as the crater's central Mt. Sharp, could have hosted life early in the planet's history.

At 16 inches wide and about 10 inches tall, the target rock looks like a miniature Great Pyramid of Giza, with one face artisans neglected to maintain.

But it's just the ticket for testing the rover's ChemCam and and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), a complementary set of tools for determining the composition of the rocks and soils the rover will encounter during its two-year prime mission on Mars. . . .

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