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12

Based on this article, 39A is just concrete on top of sand. That does seem a little ridiculous though. The pumps piled up another portion of the dredged sand on the launch pad, creating a flat-topped pyramid of sand and shell 80 feet (24.4 meters) high. During the process, draglines, bulldozers and other earth-moving equipment molded the mound into the ...


9

We don't really know. A study from 2012 suggests that lichens and cyanobacteria could indeed survive the "obvious" perils of Mars, including radiation, low pressure, and temperatures dropping as low as $-50°\text{C}$. In 2012 the Planetary Society reports a two-stage experiment performed at the German Aerospace Center, in which (1) organisms were ...


9

That's almost certainly ChemCam's laser vaporizing some rock for its spectrometer. You can see similar white spots in this video: The laser fires in short pulses 10 times a second, and there's gaps between the video frames captured by MAHLI. The two are not synchronized and only sometimes align, allowing MAHLI to see the ...


6

Have the rovers on Mars encountered anything unrecognizable to geologists? Yes, sort-of: These are similar to structures on Earth that are produced by life, so they have people scratching their heads! See my Earthscience SE question What are Ordovican trace fossils, and what do they look like? (I've just added a bounty there.) There are some unusual ...


5

From Mars Fact Sheet: hydrogen (H), carbon (C), nitrogen (N), oxygen (O), argon (Ar), neon (Ne), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe). From Inorganic analysis of martian surface samples at the viking landing sites: (DOI: 10.1126/science.194.4271.1283) silicon (Si), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), titanium (Ti), strontium (Sr),...


4

It's subjective. There are ways to claim that Apollo 17 had the most success, but there are also ways to claim that Apollo 15 was more successful. The cited text below are from the official NASA webpages for the objectives of each Apollo mission. These were the most detailed listing of Apollo objectives that I could find. I have only cited the scientific ...


4

the other posters are correct - true Martian soil contains perchlorates, high levels of iron, and can be highly toxic. What you want to look for is called "Mars Regolith Stimulant". There are a few websites that have recipes. https://reprage.com/post/home-made-simulant-mars-dirt The five most abundant ingredients, account for almost 90% of the dirt ...


3

As noted in the answer by Michael, a precise chemical composition is not known at this time. We can, however, consider the overall mineral composition on the surface of the Gale Crater. This diagram provided by Curiosity's CheMin analyzer (source) shows that the composition varies with depth inside the crater: The lower part of the crater contains large ...


3

Mudstone, although the precise chemical composition is unknown at this time (at least to the extent I was able to find it out). From the Planetary Society, it is identified as being mudstone. Unfortunately, from wikipedia, it is clear that mudstone is a very general type of mineral and can be composed of many different things, as long as it was once ...


2

Yes, of course that has been recorded. MSL's science data is stored at the Planetary Datasystem. ChemCam data are here. The Analyst's notebook shows the data on a map.


2

The Altamont Enterprise site given by called2voyage and repeated here gives a pretty impressive comparison. Perhaps we should not be so surprised that a small, rocky planet that's relatively close to the Sun and had known water and atmospheric weather would have land features similar to our own small, rocky planet that's relatively close to the Sun. ...


2

What I should have been looking at is the Geoid of Mars & the depth from it to the mantle The thickness of the crust varies between 50 km & 22 km due to the Geography & features (rock layers) above the Geoid while the distance from it to the mantle should be reasonably uniform. I presume the putative Geoid of Mars is the altitude used for ...


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