Data from the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity show an unusual enrichment of silicon in the rocks dubbed 'Wildrose' and 'Bonanza King,' relative to other rocks studied at Gale Crater on Mars.
This graphic presents results from APXS onboard NASA's rover Curiosity, with the comparisons simplified across diverse elements by dividing the amount of each element measured in the rocks by the amount of the same element in a local soil.
This graph compares the elemental composition of typical soils at three landing regions on Mars: Gusev Crater, from Spirit; Meridiani Planum, from Opportunity; and now Gale Crater, where NASA's newest Curiosity rover is currently investigating.
This image shows the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) on NASA's Curiosity rover, with the Martian landscape in the background. This image let researchers know that the APXS instrument had not become caked with dust during Curiosity's landing.
Contact Instrument Calibration Targets on Mars Rover Curiosity
Two instruments at the end of the robotic arm on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity will use calibration targets attached to a shoulder joint of the arm. The penny is a size reference giving the public a familiar object for perceiving size on Mars easily.
Grad student Nicholas Boyd (left) and Principal Investigator Ralf Gellert, both of the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, prepare for the installation of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer sensor head during testing at NASA's JPL.