(The Hindu) NASA’s Curiosity rover has discovered an unexpected mineral in a rock sample on Mars, a finding that suggests the red planet hosted explosive volcanoes during its evolution.

The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, has been exploring sedimentary rocks within Gale Crater since its landing in August 2012.

In July last year, on Sol 1060 (the number of Martian days since landing), the rover collected powder drilled from rock at a location named “Buckskin.”

Analysing data from an X-ray diffraction instrument on the rover that identifies minerals, scientists detected significant amounts of a silica mineral called tridymite.

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