Funky Mars Rock Spotted by NASA Rover May well Be a Meteorite

This tale is part of Welcome to Mars, our series discovering the purple planet.

It truly is generally a delight when a NASA rover finds a thing that does not healthy in on the Martian surface area. Occasionally, it can be landing particles. Sometimes it really is a rock that wandered in excess of from someplace else. Occasionally it’s a meteorite from area. The Curiosity rover team is puzzling around a goofy minimal gray rock that stands out from its environment. It could be a meteorite.

“This is an unconventional grey float rock which may perhaps be a remnant of product better up Mount Sharp or may well be a meteorite. We have analyzed a number of meteorites more than the previous 10 a long time, but they are not so considerable that we fail to get energized at the imagined of a new a single,” planetary geologist Catherine O’Connell-Cooper wrote in a rover update this 7 days. 

This Curiosity photograph from Oct 2022 shows the thin, dark layer of the Marker Band jogging from remaining to right (although it truly is thinner on the remaining). 


NASA/JPL-Caltech

 A “float” rock is a person that’s appear from somewhere else. The rock in Curiosity’s impression resembles prior meteorites observed on Mars that have a darkish, shiny look to them. 

Mars has a very long history of staying bombarded by rocks from room. NASA’s dearly departed Perception lander even picked up the appears of meteoroid impacts through its mission.

Curiosity is checking out the Gale Crater, working its way up the slopes of the crater’s significant central mountain, Mount Sharp. A person area of interest here is a geologic development termed the Marker Band, which O’Connell-Copper earlier explained as “a slender dark band whose origin is unclear.” The mystery rock is located beneath the Marker Band. 

Meteorites on Mars are well worth finding out. In 2016, NASA investigated a meteorite named “Egg Rock” observed by Curiosity. Egg Rock was an iron meteorite that may possibly have originally been part of the core of an asteroid. Researchers are interested in how publicity to the Martian setting has an effect on iron meteorites and how that compares with what meteorites encounter on Earth.  

Curiosity has been on Mars for around 10 decades, but its sightseeing never will get previous. The mystery rock is just the latest minimal piece of visible intrigue from a interesting earth.