A rock fragment dubbed "Lamoose" is shown in this picture taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on NASA's Curiosity rover. Like other nearby rocks in a portion of the "Marias Pass" area of Mt. Sharp, Mars, it has unusually high concentrations of silica. The high silica was first detected in the area by the Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) laser spectrometer. This rock was targeted for follow-up study by the MAHLI and the arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).
Silica is a rock-forming compound containing silicon and oxygen, commonly found on Earth as quartz. High levels of silica could indicate ideal conditions for preserving ancient organic material, if present, so the science team wants to take a closer look.
The rock is about 4 inches (10 centimeters) across. It is fine-grained, perhaps finely layered, and etched by the wind. The image was taken on the 1,041st Martian day, or sol, of the mission (July 11, 2015).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Browse Image | Medium Image | Full Res Image