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Science. 2004 Dec 3;306(5702):1746-9.

Chemistry of rocks and soils at Meridiani Planum from the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, J. J. Becher-Weg 27, D-55128 Mainz, Germany.


The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the Opportunity rover determined major and minor elements of soils and rocks in Meridiani Planum. Chemical compositions differentiate between basaltic rocks, evaporite-rich rocks, basaltic soils, and hematite-rich soils. Although soils are compositionally similar to those at previous landing sites, differences in iron and some minor element concentrations signify the addition of local components. Rocky outcrops are rich in sulfur and variably enriched in bromine relative to chlorine. The interaction with water in the past is indicated by the chemical features in rocks and soils at this site.

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