Until now, the age of interplanetary rocks could only be determined in sophisticated labs on earth. Thanks to a novel idea from Caltech geochemist Ken Farley, the Curiosity rover was able to date Martian rocks on-site. Farley was among 29 scientists who, in 2011, NASA invited to design (relatively) last-minute experiments that the rover could conduct once it arrived on the red planet. The journal Science Express recently published the historic results of Farley’s experiments–all based on data collected and analyzed right on Mars.
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