Mars: Soil Analysis

Soil to be slightly alkaline and containing elements such as magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride these nutrients are found in gardens on Earth, and are necessary for growth of plants. Experiments performed by the Lander showed that the Martian soil has a basic pH of 8.3, and may contain traces of the salt per chlorate Streaks are common across Mars and new ones appear frequently on steep slopes of craters, troughs, and valleys. The streaks are dark at first and get lighter with age. Sometimes the streaks start in a tiny area which then spreads out for hundreds of meters. They have also been seen to follow the edges of boulders and other obstacles in their path. The commonly accepted theories include that they are dark underlying layers of soil revealed after avalanches of bright dust or dust devils. However, several explanations have been put forward, some of which involve water or even the growth of organisms.

NASA researchers believe that palagonite,volcanic soil found in Hawaii, to be very similar to the Martian soil based on its spectra. As a result, palagonite has been selected as the soil of choice for a Martian analog. In this paper, cyclic voltammetry is discussed. Such techniques have never been used in interplanetary missions. Instead methods such as optics, which take up considerable amounts of energy, were used.Voltammetry should be a strong candidate for future missions because it has the ability to speciate, requires relatively little equipment, and uses less energy than more sophisticated devices. The question that arises, however, is whether such techniques would yield viable data. This paper is a pioneer work, attempting to answer that question

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