a few days ago,is still active on Mars, took Very strange: on sandy ground he hits her Mars stands small flower shaped metal Barely 1 cm wide, it has several arms attached to the base.
However, this is not the first time Curiosity has depicted this type of formation. For scientists, it is the result of the process of generation, which means that it is the result of a rearrangement On site From, which leads to the growth of a new crystal. The formation of this type of structures is significantly associated with the presence of water saturated with sulfate.
The mineral formations, captured by Mars Curiosity Sol 3396, were created from 6 images taken by the Mahli instrument on the Mars Curiosity Rover at Sol 3396 & 3397. © Nasa/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
The Martian analogue of our sand rose
In this sense, it could be the Martian analogue of our rose from. The appearance of the formation is already reminiscent of evaporative concrete. On Earth, evaporites Resulting from the sediment that is deposited during the evaporation process A supersaturated with chlorides or sulfates ( ). Rock salt is the best known vaporizer, but or anhydrites are also part of this class of minerals. So evaporators are generally formed in shallow basins, which are subject to strong evaporation and faulty hydrological system, such as lakes or .
Known sand roses are formed under specific conditions. These wonderful rocksOrange are crystals In a generally sandy environment. So sand roses do not form in the same way as gypsum in the middle. . Gypsum crystals grow even within an incoherent medium (such as sand or ), soaked in rich in . As evaporation progresses, the groundwater table is concentrated in , until saturation allows crystallization of metals. Crystals grow by pushing sand around. Thus, we find sand in Buried under a few meters of sand.
Small metal flower discovered by erosion
A similar process could be the origin of the so-called thin Martian concrete Blackthorn salt. Previous studies of similar concrete show that crystals would have grown within the soil. But how do we explain their presence on the surface today? Simply by corrosion process. Over time, the Martian winds scraped away the rocks, even highlighting these small stones. More resistant to corrosion due to its nature, this concrete is now found on the ground, like a small metal flower with.
At another site on Mars studied by Curiosity, the composition of this type of concrete was analyzed using instrumentsand APXS. It appears, for this site at least, that concrete blocks are particularly rich in magnesium (Mg) and in several species of sulfide (S). The chemical structure will be mainly MgSO4, What distinguishes these concretes from ground gypsum, from the formation of CaSO4.
This type of concrete gives a lot of information about the past environment of Mars, especially about the presence of water in the form of brine in its vault.