OK

Christian Fundies should hate it because it belies the possibility of young Earth. Tea Partyers should hate it because their taxes help pay for it. Wall Street should hate it because they can't find a sure-fire way to make a gigabundle from JPL. The Koch brothers should hate it because no matter how often Curiosity drills a hole, it never strikes oil. Climate Hoaxers should hate it because if they can't accept tree rings as a basis for inferences about past conditions, good luck with what some nerd says about a rock on another planet. Specifically, about some of these rocks:

An even more impressive view of this panorama is available in higher-res images, here.

There go those crazy, nerdy, rock hound scientists and engineers running the Curiosity mission. They're making up silly theories about things that happened so long ago they couldn't possibly really know. That's the kind of drivel that thinking like a Republican, any kind of Republican, can lead to.

But no Republican posts in this space. This blog sides with science. This blog says go go go, all ye nerdy, rock hound scientists and engineers running the Curiosity mission. Teach us about the sandstone that the Mars Science Laboratory is preparing to study:

Material filling the space between grains of sand in sandstone is called cement, whatever its composition. Characteristics of the cement can vary greatly, depending on the environmental history that affected the rock. Sandstones with some clay-mineral cements are quite soft. Tap them with a hammer and they crumble. Sandstones with quartz cement can be very hard. Hit them with a hammer and they ring.

"A major issue for us now is to understand why some rocks resist erosion more than other rocks, especially when they are so close to each other and are both likely to be sandstones," said Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego. He is the principal investigator for the Mast Camera and the Mars Descent Camera on Curiosity.

Malin said that variations in cement material of sandstones could provide clues to different types of wet environmental conditions in the area's history.

Curiosity is now less than 100 meters away from its current objective, selected months ago, where deposits of four different types of layered sandstone are exposed and accessible to the MSL instruments. Some more, really cool science is on its way soon from Curiosity and the American heroes who put in the hard work of doing that science.

I don't care how many Republicans are offended.

For all On Mars diaries and all things Mars on Daily Kos, go to Kossacks on Mars.

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