|Jarosite on quartz.|
Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.
Last August, mineralogy expanded to a new planet--Mars. The Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument, also known as CheMin, onboard the Curiosity Rover, has already detected several different minerals including jarosite, a mineral formed when water evaporates. CheMin works by drilling a hole in a rock in question, collecting the dust produced by the drilling, and firing a beam of X-rays through the dust. X-rays cause specific atoms to either absorb or emit light--these patterns indicate exactly which elements are present in the sample.
If you could send a machine like CheMin anywhere in the Solar System, what would you choose to explore?
-----The Golden Eagle