Nasa's Mars rover finds rock with Earth-like chemistry
CAPE CANAVERAL (REUTERS) - When scientists selected a rock to test the Mars rover Curiosity's laser, they expected it to contain the same minerals as rocks found elsewhere on the Red Planet, but learned instead it was more similar to a rock found on Earth.
The rock was chemically more akin to an unusual type of rock found on oceanic islands like Hawaii and St. Helena, as well as in continental rift zones like the Rio Grande, which extends from Colorado to Chihuahua, Mexico.
"It was a bit of a surprise, what we found with this rock," Curiosity scientist Ralf Gellert of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, told reporters on a conference call Thursday.
"It's igneous," Mr Gellert said, referring to rock formed from molten material. "But it seems to be a new kind of rock type that we encountered on Mars."