Science Report – January 8th

Science: Geology

No geology was performed on today’s EVA, except for collection of salts and clay samples in the region of the Moons. However, there was quite a bit of good lab work: thanks to troubleshooting with PANalytical, the TREK portable spectrometer is able again to communicate with the geologist’s laptop which will allow for quantitative analysis of the spectra.
In the meanwhile, work on the samples collected in sol 4 show the richness of the Moons region: Yellow Moon yielded sulfates (mainly gypsum, in the form of selenite), clays (montmorillonite/nontronite, and illite), hematite, and even some light volcanic ash (andesite). Beige Moon have similar composition, with an abundance of large layers of very pure gypsum.
Sulfates and clays are present on Mars, and constitute regions of high geological interest, since they can indicate hydrothermal
paleoenvironment. Human mission could make use of certain types of clays, analogous to those here on Earth, for construction. This makes the research on those materials even more interesting!