Abstract

A mineralogical study of Mars will offer a great deal of information on the present state of the planet and on the processes which have operated on it during the past. The degree of planetary development, the amount of igneous activity, the development of a secondary atmosphere, the presence of metamorphic or sedimentary processes, and the effects of impacting meteorites will all be recorded in the mineral assemblages. The identification of the mineral phases in the Martian rocks is the fundamental step in conducting such an investigation. Reliable phase analysis must be backed up with good elemental analyses as well, and with textural analysis of the rocks whenever possible. Many instruments including diffractometers, spectrometers, and petrographic microscopes have been designed to perform the desired analyses on unmanned spaceflights. Proper utilization of complementary techniques and a modest attention to a concerted effort on the problem will yield a quite sophisticated understanding of Mars with only a few space flights.

© 1969 Optical Society of America

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