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Rocknest (Mars)

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Title: Rocknest (Mars)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Timeline of Mars Science Laboratory, Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity (rover), Aeolis Palus, Gale (crater)
Collection: Aeolis Quadrangle, Mars Science Laboratory, Rocks on Mars
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Rocknest (Mars)

"Rocknest" sand patch on Mars (September 28, 2012).
Feature type Sand Patch

Rocknest is a sand patch on the surface of Aeolis Palus, between Peace Vallis and Aeolis Mons ("Mount Sharp"), in Gale crater on the planet Mars. The patch was encountered by the Curiosity rover on the way from Bradbury Landing to Glenelg Intrigue on September 28, 2012. The "approximate" site coordinates are: .

The sand patch is downhill from a cluster of dark rocks. NASA determined the patch to be the location for the first use of the scoop on the arm of the Mars Curiosity rover.[1] The "Rocknest" patch is about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) by 5 m (16 ft).

On October 7, 2012, a mysterious "bright object" (image), discovered in the sand at Rocknest, drew scientific interest. Several close-up pictures (close-up 1) (close-up 2) were taken of the object and preliminary interpretations by scientists suggest the object to be "debris from the spacecraft".[2][3][4] Nonetheless, further images in the nearby sand have detected other "bright particles" (image) (close-up 1). These newly discovered objects are presently thought to be "native Martian material".[2][5][6]

On October 17, 2012 at "Rocknest", the first X-ray diffraction analysis of Martian soil was performed. The results from the rover's CheMin analyzer revealed the presence of several minerals, including feldspar, pyroxenes and olivine, and suggested that the Martian soil in the sample was similar to the "weathered basaltic soils" of Hawaiian volcanoes.[7]

On September 26, 2013, NASA scientists reported the Phoenix lander) suggesting a "global distribution of these salts".[13] NASA also reported that Jake M rock, a rock encountered by Curiosity on the way to Glenelg, was a mugearite and very similar to terrestrial mugearite rocks.[15]


  • Images 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


"Bright Particles" found by the Curiosity Rover
at Rocknest (October, 2012)[2][3]

"Bright Object"

BO Close-up 1

BO Close-up 2

"Bright Particles"

BP Close-up 1

Curiosity's view of the "Rocknest" area - South is center/North at both ends; "Mount Sharp" at SE horizon (somewhat left-of-center); "Glenelg" at East (left-of-center); rover tracks at West (right-of-center) (November 16, 2012, white balanced) (raw color) (interactives).
Curiosity's view from "Rocknest" looking eastward toward "Point Lake" (center) on the way to "Glenelg Intrigue" (November 26, 2012, white balanced) (raw color).

See also


  1. ^ Wall, Mike (October 4, 2012). "Curiosity Rover to Scoop Up 1st Mars Samples This Weekend".  
  2. ^ a b c Wall, Mike (October 18, 2012). "Yum! Curiosity Rover Swallows 1st Mars Sample, Finds Odd Bright Stuff".  
  3. ^ a b Staff (October 15, 2012). "Small Debris on the Ground Beside Curiosity".  
  4. ^ a b Major, Jason (October 9, 2012). "Curiosity Finds…SOMETHING…on Martian Surface".  
  5. ^ Staff (October 18, 2012). "Bright Particle in Hole Dug by Scooping of Martian Soil".  
  6. ^ Staff (October 15, 2012). "Bright Particle of Martian Origin in Scoop Hole".  
  7. ^ a b c Brown, Dwayne (October 30, 2012). "NASA Rover's First Soil Studies Help Fingerprint Martian Minerals".  
  8. ^ Lieberman, Josh (September 26, 2013). "Mars Water Found: Curiosity Rover Uncovers 'Abundant, Easily Accessible' Water In Martian Soil". iSciencetimes. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  9. ^ Leshin, L. A. et al (September 27, 2013). "Volatile, Isotope, and Organic Analysis of Martian Fines with the Mars Curiosity Rover".  
  10. ^ a b Grotzinger, John (September 26, 2013). "Introduction To Special Issue: Analysis of Surface Materials by the Curiosity Mars Rover".  
  11. ^ Neal-Jones, Nancy; Zubritsky, Elizabeth; Webster, Guy; Martialay, Mary (September 26, 2013). "Curiosity's SAM Instrument Finds Water and More in Surface Sample".  
  12. ^ a b Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (September 26, 2013). "Science Gains From Diverse Landing Area of Curiosity".  
  13. ^ a b Chang, Kenneth (October 1, 2013). "Hitting Pay Dirt on Mars".  
  14. ^ a b Meslin, P.-Y. et al. (September 26, 2013). "Soil Diversity and Hydration as Observed by ChemCam at Gale Crater, Mars".  
  15. ^ Stolper, E.M.; Baker, M.B.; Newcombe, M.E.; Schmidt, M.E.; Treiman, A.H.; Cousin, A.; Dyar, M.D.; Fisk, M.R.; Gellert, R.; King, P.L.; Leshin, L.; Maurice, S.; McLennan, S.M.; Minitti, M.E.; Perrett, G.; Rowland, S.; Sautter, V.; Wiens, R.C.; MSL ScienceTeam. "The Petrochemistry of Jake_M: A Martian Mugearite".  

External links

  • Curiosity Rover - Official Site
  • NASA - Mars Exploration Program
  • Volcanic rock classification
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