Mars Curiosity Jake Compositions
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Mars Curiosity Jake Compositions

October 23, 2012
This animated graphic represents compositions indicated by 350 spectra, or analyses of laser plasma light, observed on the rock "Jake Matijevic" by the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity rover. Each spectrum is plotted along three axes in terms of its first three principal components and is color coded by observation point. ChemCam analyzed 14 different points on the rock, taking 30 spectra of each point. The first five spectra at each point were discarded because they were contaminated by surface dust. The remaining 25 spectra from each point cluster together, representing a unique composition for each of the 14 points. The unique compositions indicate that individual mineral grains and combinations of grains are observed, implying that mineral grains are in many cases larger than the 0.014-inch (0.35-millimeter) diameter of the laser beam. In a coarse-grained rock like Jake, the compositions of the outlier points can then be investigated to indicate what minerals are present in the rock. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/IRAP/UNM

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