Comparison of Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) on Martian Meteorite NWA 7034 to ChemCam Observations at Gale Crater, Mars
Friday, 19 December 2014: 5:15 PM
The ChemCam instrument on board the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover uses laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to analyze rock and soil targets on Mars from up to 7 m away. The Nd:KGW laser can shoot up to 1000 shots at one location and profile up to 1 mm depth into a rock. Identical LIBS instrumentation is located at Los Alamos National Laboratory and was used to analyze martian meteorite NWA 7034, a non-SNC basaltic breccia whose bulk composition matches the martian surface. Initial LIBS analysis of NWA 7034 included observations on two basaltic clasts in the meteorite. Electron microprobe analysis (EPMA) was performed on the two clasts for comparison with elemental compositions measured using LIBS. The two instruments give similar compositions of major oxides within the error of both techniques. EPMA analysis was also completed on three light-toned clasts and a dark-toned clast in the meteorite. The light-toned clasts have Al/Si vs. (Fe+Mg)/Si compositions ranging from felsic to mafic, and the dark-toned clast shows a mafic composition. A Sammon’s map was created to compare LIBS data for NWA 7034 and ChemCam targets Stark, Crestaurum, Link, Portage, Jake_M, Mara, Thor_Lake, Coronation, Pearson, and Prebble. This nonlinear statistical mapping technique is used for clustering assessment of LIBS data in two dimensions. The map shows NWA 7034 clustering in its own location, and the closest similar ChemCam rock targets are La_Reine and Ashuamipi, which are both coarse grained targets that have a mafic component consistent with augite. The most similar ChemCam soil targets are the Crestaurum and Portage. Creation of maps with a greater number of targets will show more of the similarities between NWA 7034 and ChemCam target rocks and soils. Further analysis will compare NWA 7034 LIBS data, data from the paired meteorite NWA 7533, and a variety of ChemCam targets that are similar in morphology and texture.