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View Diary: On Mars: If you Want to Find Evidence of Ancient Life, "Sand isn't the best place to look." (9 comments)

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  •  Everytime I read these NASA releases I find myself (2+ / 0-)
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    exterris, tekno2600

    trying to read between the lines.  I get it that they looked for material that matches controls already established by Spirit and Opportunity for calibration and instrument verification.  Two points stood out but perhaps you have covered this elsewhere:

    1)

    determining whether it was similar to soils that we understand from Spirit and Opportunity and therefore safe for scooping and sending to our laboratories.
    They are cautious about the soil texture for the sake of the instruments, so what is unsafe for scooping and what impact will this limitation have on the pursuit of answers to big questions,

    and

    2)

    But it turned out that a good amount of the material in the soil was not crystalline.
    The "sandy" test soil composition unexpectedly included significant non-crystalline content yet they had used the Mastcam color cameras, the ChemCam Laser and APXS chemical sensor to search for the correct sand drift.  What can be learned from the surprise?

    I'm not trying to be critical, just curious.

    "Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of your life." - Yes

    by teknohed on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:55:39 PM PST

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