Rover Senses Carbonates

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Rover Senses Carbonates

This graph, consisting of data from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's mini-thermal emission spectrometer, shows the light, or spectral, signatures of carbonates - organic molecules common to Earth that form only in water. The detection of trace amounts of carbonates on Mars may be due to an interaction between the water vapor in the atmosphere and minerals on the surface.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University

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