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Mars mystery rock that "appeared" from nowhere is "like nothing we’ve ever seen before"

RATE THIS! +42
Posted in Science on 19th Jan, 2014 10:55 PM by AlexMuller

A mysterious rock which appeared in front of the Opportunity rover is “like nothing we’ve ever seen before”, according to Mars exploration scientists at Nasa. Experts said they were “completely confused” by both the origins and makeup of the object, which is currently being investigated by Opportunity.

 
Astronomers noticed the new rock had “appeared” without any explanation on an outcrop which had been empty just days earlier. The rover has been stuck photographing the same region of Mars for more than a month due to bad weather, with scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California monitoring the images it sends.
 
Nasa issued a Mars status report entitled “encountering a surprise”, and lead Mars Exploration rover scientist Steve Squyres told a JPL event it seems the planet literally “keeps throwing new things at us”.
 
He said the images, from 12 Martian days apart, were from no more than a couple of weeks ago. “We saw this rock just sitting here. It looks white around the edge in the middle and there’s a low spot in the centre that’s dark red – it looks like a jelly doughnut.
 
“And it appeared, just plain appeared at that spot – and we haven’t ever driven over that spot.”
 
Squyres said his team had two theories on how the rock got there – that there’s “a smoking hole in the ground somewhere nearby” and it was caused by a meteor, or that it was “somehow flicked out of the ground by a wheel” as the rover went by.
 
“We had driven a metre or two away from here, and I think the idea that somehow we mysteriously flicked it with a wheel is the best explanation,” Squyres said.
 
Yet the story got even stranger when Opportunity investigated further. Squyres explained: “We are as we speak situated with the rover’s instruments deployed making measurements of this rock.
 
“We’ve taken pictures of both the doughnut and jelly parts, and the got the first data on the composition of the jelly yesterday.

Tags: spacespace explorationNASAMarsMars roverOpportunityrock

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-20
+3
Mars was bound to produce surprises and now with the interest in the red planet increasing we will have more and more mysteries but hopefully also more solutions
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-20
+1
I think that, when the camera wasn't watching, a little martian just put it there... Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-20
+2
They found that the composition is also quite unexpected: It’s very high in sulphur, it’s very high in magnesium, it’s got twice as much manganese as ever seen in anything on Mars. I think, this is just kind of thing that they were hoping for.... Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-20
+0
Mars was so far explored just enough to be very intriguing. Many speculation about life forms and water have been debated- it is time to find out more and for people to go
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-20
+0
It is important to understand Mars better before we go. We should find out what the history of the atmosphere has been, how the climate has changed through time and how that has influenced the evolution of the surface and the potential habitability Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-20
+1
"Mars One" plans are capturing imagination of people. I found out that about 200,000 people from around the world have applied to be among the first colonists on Mars. Among those are a prison guard, a mother who home-schooled her children and a stand up comedian Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-20
+0
In September this year Mars is going to have many visitors: when Maven reaches Mars it will join three functioning spacecraft, two US and one European. India's Mangalyaan also will be arriving about the same time. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-20
+0
NASA's space explorations generated some powerful technologies now in use here on Earth and, as someone put it, " this is to remind us that it's not the destination, but the journey that renders the rewards." Reply


 

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