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In an area on Mars’ ‘Vera Rubin Ridge’ where the Curiosity team sought to determine whether dust coatings are hiding rocks’ hematite content, the rover found a promising target — a rock called ‘Christmas Cove.’

On September 16, 2017, during the 1,118th Martian day of Curiosity’s work on the planet, the rover’s wire-bristled brush — the Dust Removal Tool — brushed an area about 2.5 inches (6 cm) across.

Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) took an image of the freshly brushed area later the same day.

“Removing dust from part of the Christmas Cove target was part of an experiment to check whether dust is subduing the apparent indications of hematite in some of the area’s bedrock,” the rover-team researchers explained.

“The brushed area’s purplish tint in an image from the MAHLI was characteristic of fine-grained hematite, an iron-oxide mineral that can provide information about ancient environmental conditions.”

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Category: Science