May 19, 2024

“Dragon scales” or “tire tracks” – NASA spacecraft makes a strange discovery on Mars

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NASA's Curiosity rover discovered a special layer of rocks on Mars that raises many questions. The research team wants to take a closer look.

Pasadena – NASA's Curiosity and Perseverance spacecraft repeatedly encounter discoveries during their exploratory tours of the Red Planet that are of interest to science and observers alike. “Perseverance” recently got one Shark fins and crab claws discovered on Mars Of course, these are not animal remains, as life has not yet been discovered on Mars, but rather stones of an unusual shape.

The Curiosity rover, which is currently the longest serving spacecraft on Mars, also discovered unusual stones. The research robot has been active on the Red Planet since the summer of 2012, and has photographed an amazing layer of rocks there. It seems that the scientists who were the first to see the images on Earth were surprised by the engraved stones. Planetary geologist Michele Minniti, from Status update Who wrote about the image for Curiosity explained that team members described the image using terms such as “wavy,” “tire tracks,” and “dragon scales.”

Lots of layered rocks on Mars

“We have seen many layered rocks on Mars over the past 12 years, but they really stand out because of the amazing patterns they create on the rocky surfaces,” the researcher confirms. The rock, which the team named “Sawblade,” was “the real surprise of the day,” Minetti said. To express her surprise, the researcher titled her status update, “What is this??” With two question marks.

Spacecraft found
NASA's Curiosity rover has found rocks that some experts liken to “dragon scales” or “tire tracks” (above left) on Mars. © NASA/JPL-Caltech/LiaKoltyrina/Imago (montage)

When making new observations, the scientific team tries to maintain a balance between “typical” and “atypical” findings, Minetti explains. “We want 'typical' observations to ensure that the dominant rock type is captured and tracked systematically. We want 'unusual' observations because they could indicate a change in rock type or chemistry that reveals a new geological process or system on Mount Sharp.”

Stones that resemble
Stones resembling “dragon scales” or “tire tracks” (pictured above) – these are the latest discoveries of NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. A wheel from the rover can also be seen. © NASA/JPL, Caltech

“Curiosity” aims to further explore the unusual stone on Mars

The plan now is for Curiosity to use its ChemCam to examine the chemistry and texture of the stone, called a “saw blade.” Mastcam aims to capture a mosaic of the entire set of stone blocks — “so we can get a closer look at these new wild wonders,” Minniti said. “Who knows what we'll find next?” (unpaid bill)

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