Curiosity Rover Sees a Weird Martian Rock Formation

The unusual formation, imaged by Curiosity rover’s Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) in July 2021.

Not to be outdone by the youthful upstart Perseverance, NASA’s Curiosity rover has put in the latest times imaging intriguing rocks at the foundation of Mount Sharp on Mars, in the vicinity of which the rover landed in August 2012. One of those capabilities is an arch, very similar to some of the towering geology existing on sections of Earth—but this arch is only about 6.5 inches tall.

Uncooked visuals of the arch taken late past week were being not too long ago designed out there on Curiosity’s image portal. The framework is positioned in Mars’ Gale Crater, which is a practically 4-billion-yr-old meteor influence web site that likely held h2o at some issue in its historical background, primarily based on the clay and sulfate mineral deposits located in it.

At the Martian mountain’s foundation, Curiosity arrived throughout a development one of a kind sufficient to pique the fascination of NASA scientists. They experienced the rover inspect the rock up close working with the Chemistry and Digital camera tool, or ChemCam, which can graphic rocks and unpack their chemical composition, and its Mast Camera, which will take pictures of the terrain.

The rock arch sits unassumingly on the flooring of Gale Crater. It is popular on the in any other case flat terrain around it and is a bit offset, with 1 facet of the arch conference the other marginally beneath its acme. It would glimpse peculiar even on Earth. Commentators on social media said the formation appears to be like like a cat on a jet ski or a serpent’s spine. If you glimpse in the arch’s negative room, it appears a bit like a squashed map of Terrific Britain.

The weird rock (bottom left).

Whichever you see, the rock texture is a “particularly whimsical” case in point of the terrain in the region, Abigail Fraeman, a planetary geologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote in a latest website article.

Perseverance, the more recent Martian rover, has upgraded instruments in comparison to Curiosity, but this rock is about as significantly from Perseverance as New York Town is from Los Angeles, so our odds of seeing it in better detail are up coming to very little. Several years from now, even though, NASA programs to deliver a spacecraft to convey Martian rocks to Earth. Perseverance will be amassing and storing caches of samples for eventual retrieval, one of the most ambitious science aims to date in house. All those Martian rocks will be the farthest objects in the solar program to be retrieved by humankind.

A lot more: The Weirdest Photographs Ever Taken on Mars

About the author: Patrick Shoe

General coffee junkie. Infuriatingly humble entrepreneur. Introvert. Extreme zombie practitioner.

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