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The highest concentration of boron measured on Mars, as of late 2016, is in this mineral vein examined with the ChemCam instrument on NASA's Curiosity rover on Aug, 25, 2016. Orange bars indicate boron content at points in the calcium sulfate vein. The context image is from Curiosity's Mastcam.

Boron in Calcium Sulfate Vein at 'Catabola,' Mars

The highest concentration of boron measured on Mars, as of late 2016, is in this mineral vein, called "Catabola," examined with the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity rover on Aug, 25, 2016, during Sol 1441 of the mission.

This two-part illustration shows the context of the erosion-resistant, raised vein, in an image from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam), and a detailed inset image from ChemCam's remote micro-imager. The inset includes indicators of the boron content measured at 10 points along the vein that were analyzed with ChemCam's laser-firing spectrometer. The vein's main component is calcium sulfate. The highest boron content identified is less than one-tenth of one percent. The heights of the orange bars at each point indicate relative abundance of boron, compared with boron content at other points.

The scale bar for the inset is 9.2 millimeters, or about 0.36 inch. The ChemCam image is enhanced with color information from Mastcam.

Mastcam and ChemCam are two of 10 instruments in Curiosity's science payload. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, developed and operates Mastcam. The U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, developed ChemCam in partnership with scientists and engineers funded by the French national space agency (CNES), the University of Toulouse and the French national research agency (CNRS).


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