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NASA’s Curiosity rover discovers a strange, bone-like rock on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover discovers a strange, bone-like rock on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover captured an image of a strange Martian structure that one expert described as the “most bizarre” it had ever seen.

Images taken by the car-sized robot appear to show spikes protruding from a boulder lying at the base of the 96-mile (154 km) Gale Crater.

It was captured using the Curiosity Camera and ChemCam on Mars day 3786, or April 1, and has sparked speculation online about what it might have depicted.

Some have compared the structure to a fish bone or a spruce branch, and said it would hardly have been a natural rock formation here on Earth.

Curiosity has been roaming Gale Crater since August 2012 as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission.

NASA’s Curiosity rover captured an image of a strange Martian structure that one expert described as the “most bizarre” it had ever seen.

Images taken by the car-sized robot appear to show spikes protruding from a boulder lying at the base of the 96-mile (154 km) Gale Crater.

Images taken by the car-sized robot appear to show spikes protruding from a boulder lying at the base of the 96-mile (154 km) Gale Crater.

It is believed that Gale is an ancient dry lake between 3.5 and 3.8 billion years old.

Storm crater – what we know now

Gale Crater is a dry lake bed on Mars measuring 96 miles in diameter

It is estimated to be around 3.5-3.8 billion years old

They include Aeolis Mons, which rises 18,000 feet above the crater floor

NASA sent the Curiosity Rover to explore the crater in November 2011 because of evidence of water in the distant past.

Organic molecules preserved in 3.5-billion-year-old bedrock were discovered in the crater in 2018, supporting that conditions on the Red Planet may once have supported life.

In January 2020, minerals made of carbon and oxygen were found in rocks, which may have formed in an ice-covered lake during the planet’s cold period.

Antidunes up to 33 feet (10 meters) high were found as a result of mega floods in November 2020

The probe’s mission goals include investigating the climate and geology of Mars, and preparing for human exploration.

She also constantly sends pictures of strange things she encounters, like this spiky rock formation.

astronomer Natalie A. Caprol Sharing a photo of it on Twitter, he captioned, “In 20 years of studying Mars, this was the most bizarre rock I’ve ever seen.”

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I can’t wait to get a micrograph of this image.

Another user commented, “Really weird, I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I’ve been looking at pictures of Mars since the Sojourner mission in 1997.”

Some suggest that Martian winds may have eroded rocks over a long period of time.

“If you blow on loose sand for a large enough number of eons, eventually every geometric shape known to us may be created,” said Twitter user Martin Weil.

Caprol also said they were likely “residual ripples after a lot of wear.”

Other online guesses include “It looks like a very easy fish vertebra could have collapsed,” “Fossil fish,” “Mackerel fillet,” and “Skeleton of some prehistoric creature.”

Twitter user @Dottysaccount said: “On Earth, it might be a fossil plant like a spruce branch or a fish spine, it’s hard to be a natural rock formation.”

While @KiltedGunnGamer wrote: “I’m happy to believe this featured a petrified Martian dragon, curled up in its final resting place.”

The images were taken with the Curiosity Camera and ChemCam on the Martian day of Mars 3786, or April 1, and have sparked speculation online about what it might have depicted.

The images were taken with the Curiosity Camera and ChemCam on the Martian day of Mars 3786, or April 1, and have sparked speculation online about what it might have depicted.

Some social media users compared the structure to a fish bone or a spruce branch, and said it would be 'hard to be a natural rock formation' here on Earth.

Some social media users compared the structure to a fish bone or a spruce branch, and said it would be ‘hard to be a natural rock formation’ here on Earth.

Others suggest that Martian winds may have eroded rocks over a long period of time

Others suggest that Martian winds may have eroded rocks over a long period of time

NASA's Curiosity rover (pictured) has been roving Gale Crater since August 2012 as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission.

NASA’s Curiosity rover (pictured) has been roving Gale Crater since August 2012 as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission.

This isn’t the first strange formation imaged by Curiosity that has left scientists scratching their heads.

This past June, I discovered some Strange twisted structures sprouting from the surface of Mars, which are now thought to be naturally occurring “hoodoos”.

Experts said the pillars may have been formed from cement-like materials that filled ancient cracks in Mars’ foundation.

But, over time, the soft rock has eroded away, leaving only the twisted spiers of compact material protruding from the sand in the crater.

In February 2022, the rover took an image of what appeared to be a coral-like “flower” in Gale Crater, but was actually a microscopic mineral formation.

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NASA scientists confirmed that it was an “advanced crystalline mass,” smaller than a penny, that may have formed from minerals precipitated from water.

Studies of earlier versions revealed that the minerals, sprouting in different directions, were most likely embedded within a rock that eroded over time.

However, these minerals seem to have been resistant to corrosion, so they remain on the dusty surface of the Red Planet.

NASA's Curiosity rover captured this image of two rocky towers on Mars on May 17, 2022. They are believed to be

NASA’s Curiosity rover captured this image of two rocky towers on Mars on May 17, 2022. They’re believed to be “hoodos,” created from cement-like materials that once filled cracks in ancient rock. This hard rock remained once the soft surrounding rock was eroded away

In February 2022, NASA's Curiosity rover captured an image of what it looks like

In February 2022, NASA’s Curiosity rover captured an image of what appears to be a coral-like “flower” in Gale Crater on Mars, but is actually a microscopic mineral formation.

This past August marked the rover’s 10th anniversary.

The one-ton rover was launched from Earth in November 2011 and – after a grueling nine-month journey – set out to search for evidence that Mars might once have supported life.

Since then, the rover has traveled more than 18 miles (29 kilometers) and climbed more than 2,000 feet (625 meters) as it explores Gale Crater and the slopes of Mount Sharp within it.

The rover analyzed about 40 rock and soil samples, drawing on an array of scientific instruments to see what they reveal about Earth’s rocky sibling.

Such was such a success that the originally intended to be a two-year stint was extended indefinitely, resulting in a somewhat busy contract.

Curiosity studied the Red Planet’s skies—taking pictures of bright clouds and drifting moons—while the rover’s radiation sensor allowed scientists to measure how much future astronauts on Mars would be exposed to, helping NASA figure out how to stay safe.

But more importantly, the rover has determined that liquid water as well as the chemical building blocks and nutrients needed to support life have been present for at least tens of millions of years in Gale Crater.

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Although a new NASA spacecraft joined it in “Perseverance” in February 2021, Curiosity continues to strut as it commands NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

NASA’s Mars spacecraft was launched in 2011 and has improved our understanding of the Red Planet

The Mars Curiosity probe was initially launched from Cape Canaveral, a US Air Force station in Florida on November 26, 2011.

After embarking on a 350 million mile (560 million km) journey, the £1.8 billion ($2.5 billion) research vehicle touched down just 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from its designated landing spot.

After a successful landing on August 5, 2012, the rover has covered about 11 miles (18 km).

Launched aboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft, the lander made up 23 percent of the mission’s total mass.

With 80 kg (180 lb) of science instruments on board, the probe weighs a total of 899 kg (1,982 lb) and is powered by a plutonium fuel source.

The rover is 2.9 meters (9.5 ft) long, 2.7 meters (8.9 ft) wide and 2.2 meters (7.2 ft) high.

The Martian rover was initially intended as a two-year mission to gather information to help answer whether the planet could support life, have liquid water, and study the climate and geology of Mars, and has since been active for more than 3,700 sols.

The Martian rover was initially intended as a two-year mission to gather information to help answer whether the planet could support life, have liquid water, and study the climate and geology of Mars, and has since been active for more than 3,700 sols.

The rover was initially intended as a two-year mission to collect information to help answer whether the planet could support life, contain liquid water, and study the climate and geology of Mars.

Due to its success, the mission has been extended indefinitely and is now active for more than 3,700 sols.

The rover has many science instruments on board, including a camera that has two cameras and can take high-resolution photos and videos in true color.

So far in the journey of the car-sized robot, he came across an ancient stream where liquid water used to flow, and not long after he also discovered that billions of years ago, a nearby area known as Yellowknife Bay was part of a lake that could support microbial life.