'Buckskin' drill hole and CheMin x-ray diffraction
The graph at right presents information from the Curiosity rover's onboard analysis of rock powder drilled from the "Buckskin" target location, shown at left. X-ray diffraction analysis of the Buckskin sample inside the rover's Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument revealed the presence of a silica-containing mineral named tridymite. This is the first detection of tridymite on Mars. Peaks in the X-ray diffraction pattern are from minerals in the sample, and every mineral has a diagnostic set of peaks that allows identification. The image of Buckskin at left was taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on July 30, 2015.