Chemical Changes in Endurance Rocks
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Chemical Changes in 'Endurance' Rocks

January 10, 2005
This graph shows that rocks located deeper into "Endurance Crater" are chemically altered to a greater degree than rocks located higher up. This chemical alteration is believed to result from exposure to water.

Specifically, the graph compares ratios of chemicals between the deep rock dubbed "Escher," and the more shallow rock called "Virginia," before (red and blue lines) and after (green line) the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drilled into the rocks. As the red and blue lines indicate, Escher's levels of chlorine relative to Virginia's went up, and sulfur down, before the rover dug a hole into the rocks. This implies that the surface of Escher has been chemically altered to a greater extent than the surface of Virginia. Scientists are still investigating the role water played in influencing this trend.

These data were taken by the rover's alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

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