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arche pierre Mars Curiosity

The Curiosity rover discovered a small stone arch on Mars

The image of this strange rock was captured on July 27 by the Romans Semkemal. For nine years on Mars, Curiosity is currently at the foot of Mount Sharp in the Gale Valley, where he has been responsible for exploring various geological layers. In a transition zone between clay soils and sulfate soils, the craft fell into a small stone curve that seemed to transcend Martian wind and dust.

The curve in question measures only a few centimeters – the entire field in the picture below is about 16.5 cm in diameter – but it is amazing. ” I leave it up to the scientists to explain what is going on here », Jokingly On his Twitter account Engineer Kevin M. Gill, after publishing the sewing results of the pictures captured by Curiosity.

Could this curve be a symbol of an ancient Martian life? In fact, many such large rock formations have formed naturally on Earth as a result of erosion caused by water or air; So there is no reason for it to be on Mars. This mini curve is strong enough to withstand Martian dust storms.

Curiosity is always looking for traces of ancient life

This year’s diligent visit to Mars has almost obscured the existence of its predecessor, and is still in business after all these years. Of interest, this is part of the mission Mars Science LaboratoryDescended into the Gale Abyss on August 6, 2012; This site was chosen because it represents the major geographical periods of the Red Planet.

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The rover’s job is to analyze the mineral composition of the soil, detect possible traces of water and collect meteorological data to determine if it is favorable for life. To do this, Curiosity is a drilling tool for two mini-laboratories and samples, allowing the analysis of organic and mineral components. It also incorporates a laser system to determine the composition of rocks remotely, Semcom.

Curiosity is currently exploring a transition zone between the “clay unit” (the area rich in clay minerals) and the “sulfated unit”. ” Sulfates such as gypsum and epsom salts usually form around water when they evaporate, and they are another clue to how the climate and outlook on life there have changed. Almost 3 billion years old », NASA experts explain. Both of these areas suggest the aquatic past of the region, the conditions that supported the ancient microbial life.

Chemical & Camera (ChemCam) Capture Small Stone Curve on Curiosity Rover, July 27, 2021 © NASA / JPL-Caltech / LANL

Just last week the rover came face to face with this strange rock formation. Abigail Freeman, a planetary geologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, described the discovery. ” Especially strange picture of an interesting rock formation . « I am constantly amazed by the structure we see, especially the centimeter-sized bumps and lumps coming out of the rock. , She clarified In the work journal.

A unique rock formation, among many others …

To Gwenell Caravaca, A research engineer at the Laboratory of Planetology and Geodynamics at Nantes, said the system was particularly optimal for paradoxes (involving the brain’s detection of a familiar pattern in a random pattern): ” Some look at the snake, some look at the horns, some look at the DNA mutation, but what I see right now is a huge RMI mosaic [Remote Micro-Imager] On this strange building, perhaps the weather was due to a different erosion in the rocks “, He commented on his Twitter account.

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The surrounding rocky terrain shows that the Gale crater is a dusty and windy place. According to Michael Minitty, A planetary geologist in the framework, made this small curve made of corrosion-resistant material. ChemCam will now analyze the chemistry of these resistant knots and identify what distinguishes them from the underlying foundation.

Roche Mars Perseverance
“Butt Crack Rock” was captured by Perseverance Rover, June 3, 2021. © NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU

Rock structures with different shapes are not uncommon on Mars. For example, a cracking rock Photographed in June by the diligent rover And nicknamed “Butt Crack Rock”. Faces, bones, animals, these are the many shapes “seen” on the surface of Mars. In April, diligence discovered a long rock, surrounded by a “head”, According to Kevin M. Gill, Reminiscent of a small fossil prachiosaur.

Curiosity’s latest discovery shows that even after nine years of exploration, some geological wonders can still be discovered on the slopes of Mount Rover Sharp.

Source: NASA