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This graphic shows Mars Global Surveyor detecting pyroxene.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA.

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Pyroxene

Mars Global Surveyor made a measurement of pyroxene on the surface of Mars. The absence of pyroxene minerals was a puzzlement to scientists studying results returned by the Mars Pathfinder Rover's examination of the rocks of Mars. Pyroxene is an important silicate mineral, and is part of the evolution of silicate rocks on Earth. If Mars could not manufacture pyroxene the way the Earth does, that would suggest that Mars and the Earth evolved differently.

This graph shows a strong indication of the presence of pyroxene in the surface minerals of Mars, however. The finding of pyroxene will help scientists figure out how the crust of Mars evolved.


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