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NASA's Opportunity gives an interior view of Mars

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity examined a rock called

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (BNS): NASA's Mars exploration rover Opportunity is helping the scientists get a glimpse deep inside Mars.

According to a NASA news release, Opportunity is allowing scientists study a dark rock dubbed as "Marquette Island." The rock is thus providing a better understanding of the mineral and chemical makeup of the Martian interior.

"Marquette Island is different in composition and character from any known rock on Mars or meteorite from Mars," said Steve Squyres, the principal investigator for Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, as reported in the release.

Marquette Island is a coarse-grained rock with a basalt composition. It therefore cooled slowly from molten rock, allowing crystals time to grow.

The rock's interior contains more magnesium than in typical Martian basalt rocks. The lower nickel content in Marquette Island indicates a Martian origin.

The research team used Opportunity's rock abrasion tool to grind away some of Marquette Island's weathered surface and expose the interior. The tool was designed to grind into one Martian rock.

Mars exploration rover Opportunity, till date, has made numerous scientific discoveries, including the first mineralogical evidence that Mars had liquid water.

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