The Gemstones of Mars
Precious gems are not exactly what you would expect to find on Mars. The “Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars,” CRISM, for short, is a nifty device that has already found indications of water on Mars; a pretty cool move in itself, using a technique known by the fancy title of “reflectance spectroscopy” which allows it to "see" minerals on the Martian surface.
Not satisfied with just being a smart Imaging Spectrometer it goes one step further and on occasion becomes super-smart and really shows off detecting gemstone. The pretty picture below is a Martian crater’s central peak, the vari-coloured area representing minerals, whilst the pretty pink areas represent concentrated hydrated silica better what is known on Earth as Opal.
CRISM Finds Opal in a Martian Crater: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL
Opal is a really cool discovery. One reason is that opal often has high water content. And on Earth opals often contain preserved fossils and other signs of biology consequently it could potentially preserve the history of life on Mars. Martian Opal is also more valuable than the most precious diamond shining brightly in the sol light of Earth. Collect a handful and you could be an incredibly rich Earth dweller!
Opal is the birthstone for October, so what better place to go for your birthday treat than Opal hunting on Mars? Who knows how many of these precious and beautiful gemstones are lying in wait for you birthday babes in the Craters of Mars just waiting for you budding October opal babes to flash your geologists hammer to expose these glimmering gemstone treasures in the shimmering Martian sun.
Read more about CRISM on a new web site dedicated to the instrument and its discoveries on Mars.