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October 31 2012
In the first inventory of minerals on another planet, Nasa's Mars rover has found soil that bears a striking resemblance to the weathered, volcanic sand of Hawaii, say scientists.
The rover, named Curiosity, uses an x-ray imager to reveal the atomic structures of crystals in the Martian soil. It was the first time the technology, known as x-ray diffraction, was used to analyse soil not on Earth.
"This was a 22-year journey and a magical moment for me," said David Blake, Nasa's lead scientist for the rover's mineralogical instrument.
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