Nasa says mystery rock on Mars is ‘like nothing we’ve ever seen before’
From: Belfast Telegraph
A mysterious ’jelly doughnut 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’s various measuring instruments.
Images captured by Opportunity show the mysterious rock ’appeared’ on an outcrop that had been empty just 12 Martian days (’Sols’) earlier.
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.
“It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” he said. “It’s very high in sulphur, it’s very high in magnesium, it’s got twice as much manganese as we’ve ever seen in anything on Mars.
“I don’t know what any of this means. We’re completely confused, and everyone in the team is arguing and fighting (over what it means).
“That’s the beauty of this mission… what I’ve realised is that we will never be finished. There will always be something tantalising, something wonderful just beyond our reach that we didn’t quite get to – and that’s the nature of exploration.”
Squyres was speaking at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the arrival of Opportunity and Spirit on the surface of Mars.
While Spirit lost contact with Earth and was later declared “dead” in 2010, Opportunity has now roamed the planet far in excess of what was originally planned as a three-month mission. Nasa said that with its maximum speed of just 0.05mph, as of “Sol 3547” (15 January 2014) Opportunity had covered just over 24 miles (38km).
Article from: belfasttelegraph.co.uk
READ: Mystery Mars rock reveals unexpected chemical composition
Mysterious rock appears near Mars rover Opportunity
Curiosity breaks rock to reveal dazzling white interior
Curiosity’s surprising geological finds and spectacular self-portrait
Weather On Mars Surprisingly Warm, Curiosity Rover Finds
Has Mars Preserved Evidence of Ancient Life? Groundbreaking New Look at the 1976 Viking Mission Findings
Mars May Have Harbored Life 3.6 Billion Years Ago
Latest News from our Front Page
Muhammad Art Exhibit: Two gunmen dead after firing at security guard in Texas shootout
A prize of $10,000 was offered by an American group to the 'best' cartoon depicting the religious figure
Two gunmen were shot dead after they opened fire at a contest for cartoon images of the Islamic prophet Muhammad last night.
A security guard was also wounded when gunfire broke out as the men drove up to the exhibition in Texas at around ...
An Eye For Odin
The Anglo-Saxon Sutton Hoo helmet is a religious artefact dedicated to Woden the one eyed god of war. Recent research indicates that numerous other archeaological artefacts also provide evidence that one eye on various figures has been deliberately removed as part of a Woden ritual.
Read the original essay by Neil Price and Paul Mortimer here:
Music: Faunus Amadeus Loki - Strange ...
Ed Miliband: "As a friend of Israel and a Jew, I'm a proud member of this community" & "The Jewish Manifesto"
Editor's comment: With just a few days to go to the British election, here are a few tidbits that the English voter might want to know about concerning the leader of the Labour party, Ed Miliband.
Labour Leader Ed Miliband on the Board of Deputies' Jewish Manifesto
By Ed Miliband, Leader of the Opposition in the UK. (Or should that be the ...
"Sweden is ruled by unelected policy plotters"
Editor's Comment: As usual, the power in Sweden is behind the scenes, unelected and weaved into the bureaucracy so that Swedes have no control or influence over what happens in the country.
Sweden has long been seen as the epitome of a healthy democracy. But in this week's debate article, three researchers argue that an increase in unelected behind-the-scenes operators is ...
Israel to airlift 25 babies born to surrogates out of Nepal
Ya'ari is one of 26 babies airlifted by the Israeli government and brought to Israel to be with their parents after the Nepal earthquake. (Derek Stoffel/CBC)Israel said Sunday it plans to airlift 25 infants from quake-hit Nepal born to surrogate mothers, along with their Israeli parents, most of them homosexual couples.
Officials said Israel was sending a military delegation to offer ...
|More News » |