05.15.2017 Putting Martian 'Tribulation' Behind
05.15.2017 From 'Tribulation' to 'Perseverance' on Mars
04.20.2017 Chemical Laptop Team
04.20.2017 Subcritical Water Extractor
04.20.2017 Chemical Laptop
04.20.2017 Atacama Landscape
03.30.2017 Measuring Mars' Atmosphere Loss
03.29.2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Theisinger
03.29.2017 A Decade of Compiling the Sharpest Mars Map
03.21.2017 Break in Raised Tread on Curiosity Wheel
03.17.2017 COBALT/JPL team
03.09.2017 Back-to-Back Martian Dust Storms
02.27.2017 Swirling Dust in Gale Crater, Mars, Sol 1613
02.27.2017 Dust Devil Passes Near Martian Sand Dune
02.27.2017 Sand Moving Under Curiosity, One Day to Next
02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.26.2017 Mono Lake
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.23.2017 Spirit And Opportunity By The Numbers
01.10.2017 Mars 2020 Rover - Artist's Concept
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
10.17.2016 MAVEN Captures Rapid Cloud Formation
10.17.2016 Mars' Nightside Atmosphere
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Image Near Mars' South Pole
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Mars Reveals Cloud Formation
10.05.2016 Dust Haze Hiding the Martian Surface in 2001
10.04.2016 Test of Lander Vision System for Mars 2020
10.03.2016 A Sharpened Ultraviolet View of Mars
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
Close-Up Detail in "Point Lake" OutcropThe Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was positioned about 4 inches (10 centimeters) from the surface of the "Point Lake" outcrop when it took this image of a portion of the outcrop's steep face. This close-up view and others from MAHLI on the same Martian day -- Sol 303 of the mission (June 13, 2013) -- show that many holes in the rock are occupied by what appears to be material different from that of the main rock itself. Specifically, the material in the holes seems to be finer-grained, slightly darker, and slightly more resistant to weathering. In many instances, there is a moat of sorts between the more resistant interior material and the main Point Lake rock.
In this image, the larger hole containing a darker inclusion with a fleck of bright material in the moat is roughly 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter.
Curiosity's science team chose to approach Point Lake with the rover in June 2013 to get a closer look after earlier imaging of Point Lake (such as at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17071">http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17071 ) left uncertainty about whether this outcrop is igneous or sedimentary.
A closer look still leaves room for interpretation. The material in the holes observed with MAHLI could be pebbles that blew into pre-existing holes, but it seems unlikely that the same type of pebble would blow into every hole. They might be pebbles that were part of the rock all along, as would be expected if Point Lake is sandstone with a few coarser pebbles (and therefore supporting the sedimentary interpretation). If Point Lake is igneous, the material in the holes might be individual, larger crystals within an otherwise finer-crystalline rock. Such crystals are called phenocrysts, and indicate that they got a head start on cooling before the rest of the rock was erupted onto the surface. Finally, the material in the holes could be secondary -- having been deposited at a later time in pre-existing holes of the rock from percolating fluids or gases. This last scenario could fit either the sedimentary or igneous interpretation, without favoring one over the other.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS