Curiosity may have left the star to persevere, but he still gives us great photos despite his age.
Since Perseverance landed on Mars, one can almost forget that the Red Planet is home to another high-profile craft, Curiosity. This legendary rover may have lost its place as the darling of NASA and the general public, but that doesn’t stop it from making itself useful; He recently came up with an amazing picture of “a flower“Martian.
This photo was taken on February 24 using the Mars Hand Lens Imager, a camera located at the end of an articulated arm that has already given us many great close-up shots. This isn’t the first time NASA has come across something of this nature. Curiosity has documented a “variety of similar small structures” in the past. But the rover is still interested in it.
Remnants of Mars’ liquid past
If this body of just a few millimeters in size is so remarkable, it is because of its very special shape that it tells us so much about Mars’ past. It resembles a terrestrial coral, or to a lesser extent a sand rose. Therefore, in all likelihood, these rocks are called evaporites.
As its name suggests, the evaporation process plays a central role in the formation of these structures. Originally, the mineral salts that make up it were dissolved in a liquid layer. Very briefly, when the concentration of these salts becomes too high, the substrate reaches saturation. It could no longer accept any more mineral salts; When a saturated liquid passes near a surface, this excess substance is concentrated into a distinct solid mass during a process called sedimentation.
Since this process always begins in a liquid medium, these flowers are yet another indisputable evidence of the “Ancient Age” in which water-borne minerals unified this stone. In the past, NASA had already discovered small balls of rock which then christened them”Mars berriesThat pointed in the same direction.
Nearly ten years of exploration
These elements are of particular interest to NASA. In fact, these images are full of details about the conditions that prevailed on Mars millions of years ago. The more precisely this context is known, the more likely researchers are to make new discoveries about the geology of the planet, and thus about the life that would likely have existed there.
Either way, it’s a great photo that will feature prominently in Curiosity’s photo album. Furthermore, this veteran of the Red Planet should soon be honored as he will celebrate ten years of exploration on August 5th. A decade is devoted to the intense science that will produce breathtaking images and world-class scientific findings.
However, this symbolic date may end; The fault of the wheels of the machine that literally began to collapse under the beating on the harsh Martian soil. So hopefully, the rover shocker will continue to this date to honor this legendary machine as it should.
“Professional food nerd. Internet scholar. Typical bacon buff. Passionate creator.”