Green Gems for a Red Planet

Los Alamos National Laboratory has requested crystals of Chatham Created Emerald for use in a scientific instrument that will analyze minerals on Mars during NASA’s next mission to the Red Planet, scheduled for fall 2009.

The instrument, called CheMin (for chemistry and mineralogy), will be shuttled around the planet’s surface by NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover, now under construction at the Houston Space Center. The Chatham emeralds, more than 20 carats’ worth, will be used for the critical calibration required to identify trace elements found on the planet’s surface. The diffraction properties of beryl, specifically emerald, make it suitable for such fine calibration.