Home Technology NASA rover discovers a hefty meteorite on Mars

NASA rover discovers a hefty meteorite on Mars



After greater than a decade on Mars, NASA‘s Curiosity rover is kind of used to traversing the Crimson Planet in solitude.

However final week, on its 3,724th Martian day rumbling over Mount Sharp, it encountered one other international customer, one thing that additionally traveled a rare distance by area earlier than winding up within the dusty barren desert: a one-foot-wide meteorite.

NASA is asking the area rock Cacao(Opens in a brand new window), considered one of a handful of meteorites the plucky robotic has found because it arrived on Mars in 2012. Utilizing its Mast Digital camera, Curiosity snapped a photograph displaying its new discover on Jan. 27, with its personal Johnny-5-like shadow making a body. The selfie [see below] has ragged edges as a result of it’s truly composed of six pictures stitched collectively.

“There‚Äôs no option to date these,” NASA stated by its anthropomorphized Curiosity account(Opens in a brand new window) on Twitter. “Nevertheless it might have been right here thousands and thousands of years!”

Curiosity photographing a meteorite on Mars

Curiosity’s shadow casts a body across the newly found meteorite on Mars.
Credit score: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

On Earth, scientists estimate about 48.5 tons of billions-of-years-old meteor materials(Opens in a brand new window) rain down from area every day, a lot of which vaporizes within the ambiance or falls into the ocean, which covers over 70 % of the planet. Greater than 60,000 meteorites have been found on our planet. The overwhelming majority comes from asteroids, however valuable few originated on Mars or the moon, in keeping with NASA. No less than 175 recognized right here(Opens in a brand new window) hail from the Crimson Planet.

“It might have been right here thousands and thousands of years!”

Curiosity, a car-size rover(Opens in a brand new window), and its predecessors have discovered meteorites earlier than, and The Meteoritical Society is beginning to preserve a database of their finds(Opens in a brand new window). The worldwide group has given formal identify recognition to fifteen such specimens since 2005.

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It isn’t clear which planet, moon, or asteroid Cacao expatriated, however mission scientists say it is an iron-nickel meteorite. This class of area rock is not uncommon amongst these discovered on Earth, however it’s much less widespread than stony meteorites. Different meteorites that rovers have found on their expeditions have had comparable iron compositions.

Scientists speculate iron meteorites could also be proof against erosion on the Crimson Planet. That would clarify why this large area rock seems to be sitting on flat floor moderately than in a gap.

“There seemingly was a BIG crater within the historic previous,” Curiosity tweeted(Opens in a brand new window). “Over time, erosion and different forces flatten the realm round it, carving away every little thing however the hardest materials.”



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