The PIXL is a micro-focus X-ray fluorescence instrument that rapidly measures elemental chemistry by focusing an X-ray beam to a tiny spot on the target rock or soil. The primary target is exploring stacks of sedimentary rock that was deposited in the lake bed roughly three and a half billion years ago.
What will they find in those stacks? Signs of life? Clues to Mars’ history? Professors Hurowitz and McLellan can address the approach and expectations of the research, as well as what they hope will be the next rover discoveries.
Professor McLennan is also a member of the SuperCam instrument team and the mission’s Returned Sample Science Working Group that will coordinate the selection of samples cached on the Martian surface for potential future return to Earth.