NASA's Curiosity rover finds 'Cacao’, a special Meteorite on Mars | Tech News

NASA's Curiosity rover finds 'Cacao’, a special Meteorite on Mars

The iron-nickel space rock named 'Cacao’ was found on Mars by NASA’s Curiosity.

| Updated on: Feb 06 2023, 22:13 IST
What is a Meteorite? Know about these fallen “space rocks”
meteorite on Mars
1/5 Meteorites are generally meteors that have fallen on Earth. When a meteoroid enters a planet’s atmosphere, it Is termed as a Meteor. If the meteor falls on the surface of the planet without burning up completely, it is called a Meteorite, according to NASA. (AP)
meteorite on Mars
2/5 Therefore, it can be said that meteorites are broken up pieces of a meteor fallen on Earth or any planet’s surface. They can be found in various parts of the world where there have been previous meteor sightings. Meteorites typically range between the size of a pebble and a fist (Pixabay)
meteorite on Mars
3/5 Meteorites can resemble rocks on Earth, but they usually have a burned exterior that can appear shiny. This “fusion crust” forms as the meteorite’s outer surface melts while passing through the atmosphere, according to NASA. (NASA)
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4/5 Although most meteorites found on Earth originate from smaller asteroids, they can also potentially originate at nearby planets such as Mars or even the Moon. Scientists can tell where meteorites originate based on several lines of evidence. They can use photographic observations of meteorite falls to calculate orbits and project their paths back to the asteroid belt. (NASA/JPL)
meteorite on Mars
5/5 Meteorites that fall to Earth contain information about some of the original, diverse materials that formed planets billions of years ago, according to NASA. By studying meteorites scientists can learn about early conditions of the solar system as well as the processes which happened to reach where we are today. (Pixabay)
meteorite on Mars
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NASA's Curiosity Rover has discovered an iron-nickel meteorite on Mars. (NASA)

It's not uncommon to find meteorites on Mars. In fact, NASA's Curiosity Rover has done it a couple of times already. But this one is special as it is made of iron nickel. This unique meteorite is known as “Cacao”. NASA's Curiosity Rover discovered an iron-nickel meteorite on January 28, 2023 on Mars. The meteorite, estimated to be around 1 foot or 30 cm in size, was found in the sulfate-bearing unit of Mount Sharp. This is just one of several meteorites Curiosity has come across during its exploration of the Red Planet.

Why are NASA scientists studying meteorites? To learn details about how our solar system evolved into the planets we see today and how meteorite impacts could affect our future.

Tech behind the image of metal Meteorite on Mars

The panoramic image was captured by Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) using a 100-millimetre lens. The final image is a composite of 19 separate pictures that were pieced together after transmission to Earth. The colour was adjusted to simulate Earth's lighting conditions as seen by the human eye.

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NASA explained that the image is made up of six individual images captured by Mastcam's 34-millimeter focal length lens. After that, these images are combined together and were sent back to Earth.

More about NASA's Curiosity Rover

NASA's Curiosity Rover is a car-sized robotic rover that was launched by NASA in 2011 as part of the Mars Science Laboratory mission. The rover's primary goal is to explore the Gale Crater on Mars and determine if the planet has ever had the right conditions to support microbial life. Curiosity is equipped with a suite of scientific instruments and cameras that allow it to analyze the Martian soil, rocks, and atmosphere. The rover also has the ability to drill into rocks and collect samples for further analysis.

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First Published Date: 06 Feb, 22:13 IST