The graph at right presents information from the NASA Curiosity Mars rover's onboard analysis of rock powder drilled from the "Big Sky" and "Greenhorn" target locations, shown at left.
X-ray diffraction analysis of the Greenhorn sample inside the rover's Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument revealed an abundance of silica in the form of noncrystalline opal. The broad hump in the background of the X-ray diffraction pattern for Greenhorn, compared to Big Sky, is diagnostic of opal.
The image of Big Sky at upper left was taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera the day the hole was drilled, Sept. 29, 2015, during the mission's 1,119th Martian day, or sol. The Greenhorn hole was drilled, and the MAHLI image at lower left was taken, on Oct. 18, 2015 (Sol 1137).
MAHLI was built by Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.
More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.