Crazy find! NASA Rover snaps unusual Mars rock; can be a Meteorite

    NASA’s Mars rover detected an unusual rock on the Martian surface in the latest image. An expert suggested it can be a meteorite.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Jan 15 2023, 09:18 IST
    Top NASA tech that solved Mars myths and mysteries like never before
    1/10 Humans have been studying Mars for hundred of years. In 1609, Galileo was the first person to peer through a telescope and get a more intimate image of what many could only have dreamed of. (Pixabay)
    2/10 An up close and personal view of the red planet emerged as time progressed and so did the capabilities of telescopes. In fact, from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s, many astronomers believed that Mars was home to majestic seas and lush areas of vegetation. The Dark markings on Mars surface were once believed to be caused by vegetation growing and dying. (Pixabay)
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    3/10 Some even believed that intelligent life existed on Mars just because of what they saw through their simple telescopes. But that is exactly was science is about-you make educated guesses based on what you know, then change your ideas based on what you learn. (NASA)
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    4/10 Now, thanks to new sophisticated equipment and robotic visits to Mars, it turns out they were caused by Martian wind. It was not until the 1960s, when NASA's Mariner missions flew by and snapped pictures of Mars that many of the myths about the red planet were dispelled. (NASA)
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    5/10 That does not make Mars any less interesting. The possibility that life actually existed once on Mars is still a distinct possibility. Or it may even be existing on Mars today! No, not in the form of little green men, but on a microbial level. (NASA)
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    6/10 Now, taking pictures is great and all. But nothing is better than getting to know the real thing. So, to get a better feel of Mars, Scientists and engineers built some nifty technologies, from spacecrafts to reach Mars and rovers (vehicles) to actually trundle and explore the planet. (NASA/JPL)
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    7/10 Among the earliest tech deployed for Mars was Phoenix. It was launched on August 4, 2007 and so began its 9-month long, 681 Million km journey to the legendary red planet. Now, landing on a planet is not as easy as simply dropping a spacecraft onto it. There is actually a lot of steps to the process. (NASA)
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    8/10 On May 25, 2008, Phoenix entered Mars atmosphere. It used its heat shield to slow down the high speed entry of 5600 meters per second or around 12500 miles per hour. It released a supersonic PARACHUTE, then detached from its parachute and used its rocket engines to land safely on the planet's surface. Phoenix' landing spot was further north and closer to the ice covered poles than any spacecraft has ever been before. (NASA)
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    9/10 Phoenix had two primary goals: One was to study the history of water in the Martian arctic and the other was to search for evidence of a habitual zone and assess the biological potential of the ice soil boundary. And to do that the spacecraft was packed full of gizmos and gadgets to perform all sets of experiments and tests. One of these gizmos was a robotic arm with a shovel attached. It was used to dig up samples of the martian soil for experiments! (NASA)
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    10/10 Another top tech on the Mars surface was the Surface Stereo Imager, which is really just a fancy name for the camera. Three surface stereo imagers were Phoenix' eye. Engineers built the device with two optical lenses that would allow for a three dimensional view, just like our eyes. And the SSI sent back some amazing images of the martian landscape. (Source: NASA/Justin Tully) (NASA)
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    A meteorite-like unusual rock found on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

    NASA's Curiosity rover has found something that doesn't fit in on the Martian surface! Though, there have been many instances in the past when an unusual object on Mars left scientists excited and puzzled, but this time, the stone is no Martian mirage. The latest image taken by Mast Camera (Mastcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3706 on January 9, 2023, is puzzling scientists. It is an unusual little gray rock that doesn't match the martian surface. It could be a meteorite!

    Planetary geologist Catherine O'Connell-Cooper said that, "This is an unusual gray float rock which may be a remnant of material higher up Mount Sharp or may be a meteorite. We have analyzed a few meteorites over the past 10 years, but they are not so abundant that we fail to get excited at the thought of a new one.” Yes, this is not the first time that NASA detected a bizarre rock on the red planer. Mars has been bombarded by rocks from space. Not just that, NASA's InSight lander even detected the sounds of meteoroid impacts during its mission. A "float" rock is basically one which comes from somewhere else.

    Meteorites on Mars

    There is a high possibility that the newly found unusual rock on Mars is a meteorite. Back in 2016, NASA studied an iron meteorite named "Egg Rock" found by Curiosity rover. It may have been part of the core of an asteroid. Scientists want to distinguish the difference between meteorites that we experience on Earth and how exposure to the Martian environment affects iron meteorites.

    Mars Curiosity Rover

    Curiosity is a car-sized Mars rover designed to explore the Gale crater on Mars. It was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, and landed on Aeolis Palus inside the Gale crater on Mars on August 6, 2012. Now, it has been more than 10 years on Mars but it never fails to surprise scientists with its unusual sights on the red planet.

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    First Published Date: 15 Jan, 09:17 IST
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