It was one year ago that the Mars Curiosity Rover landed on the red planet. Luxel built LUXFilm®/ Polyimide filters for the Chemistry and Mineralogy X-Ray Diffusion Instrument (CheMin) which measures the quantitites of various minerals in powdered surface samples through X-ray diffraction. CheMin is part of an on-board laboratory that conduct experiments on rock and soil samples collected from the surface of the planet, and contributes to the greater mission of the Curiosity Rover which is to determine whether or not the martian environment has ever supported microbial forms of life. As part of their celebration of the anniversary of the landing, NASA featured some of the scientific findings from the first year of research on the mission website. Some highlights include:
- Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur, which are all required to support life, were found in surface rocks
- The discovery of an ancient stream bed
- The diversity in rock types has surprised scientists, all of which reflect the ancient presence of water on the planet
- No methane has been detected – methane is produced by living organisms
Right now the rover is making a multi-month trek across the surface of Mars to the base of Mount Sharp, where some of the primary experiments of the mission will take place.