Recently, the world’s attention has been focused on the NASA Perseverance rover, which has begun construction of a sample depot for the upcoming Mars Sample Return mission. But its twin brother Curiosity was somehow forgotten. However, the 11-year-old spacecraft continues to travel on the surface of Mars in search of sensational discoveries, and the other day it stumbled upon an interesting find. Ashley Stroup, an engineer of the support group at NASA’s JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which oversees the Curiosity mission, reported that the rover came across a 30 cm rock, which apparently had an alien origin.
“Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. METEORITE! It’s not uncommon to find meteorites on Mars – in fact, I’ve done it a few times! But a change in scenery’s always nice,” Curiosity commented on the discovery on its Twitter account. It also confirmed that the rock, which the JPL team named Cacao, is made of iron and nickel.
Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. METEORITE!
It’s not uncommon to find meteorites on Mars – in fact, I’ve done it a few times! (see ????) But a change in scenery’s always nice.
This one’s about a foot wide and made of iron-nickel. We’re calling it “Cacao.” pic.twitter.com/I37HiGjN2t
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) February 2, 2023
This is not the first meteorite discovered on a distant planet. Even earlier, in 2016, Curiosity came across a meteorite called Egg Rock.
Also pay attention to the huge 2-meter meteorite nicknamed The Beast, discovered in 2014.
Moreover, meteorites bombard Mars even today. Recently, the NASA InSight lander, which “died” at the end of 2022, heard rocks from space falling to the surface, producing loud impacts recorded by seismographs. Later, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite took a picture of a huge crater formed as a result of the impact. Data analysis showed that the meteorite had a size of 10-12 m, forming a crater with a diameter of about 150 m and a depth of 20 m. Scientists say that the consequences of such impacts will help them learn more about the structure of the Red Planet’s crust.
Earlier we reported how InSight experienced four powerful impacts from meteorites on Mars.
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