Special Reports

Chemistry of Rocks and Soils in Gusev Crater from the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer

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Science  06 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5685, pp. 829-832
DOI: 10.1126/science.1099913

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The alpha particle x-ray spectrometer on the Spirit rover determined major and minor elements of soils and rocks in Gusev crater in order to unravel the crustal evolution of planet Mars. The composition of soils is similar to those at previous landing sites, as a result of global mixing and distribution by dust storms. Rocks (fresh surfaces exposed by the rock abrasion tool) resemble volcanic rocks of primitive basaltic composition with low intrinsic potassium contents. High abundance of bromine (up to 170 parts per million) in rocks may indicate the alteration of surfaces formed during a past period of aqueous activity in Gusev crater.

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