The other day, the Curiosity rover, when checking the rocks, noticed a large boulder that had a very interesting shape. A piece of rock turned out to be about the size of the rover, which can also be compared to a small off-road vehicle. Space explorer Jason Major compiled one photo from three different images of the rover taken on July 15 to get a better look at the rock.
The shape of the boulder confused Twitter users a bit, who eventually assumed it looked like the famous Pile of Poo (????). The rover team, in turn, named the rock Ilha Novo Destino after an island in Brazil. USGS planetary geologist Lauren Edgar wrote in an updated mission report last week that similar boulders “can help us understand the stratigraphy of the planet”.
ohai weird Mars rock. no that’s ok. You just keep being you.
— Jason Major (@JPMajor) July 18, 2022
Planetary geologist Aster Cowart highlighted several images of Curiosity’s outstretched robotic arm approaching the boulder, as well as what he saw with the Mars Hand Lens Imager camera. A series of images of Mars shows how the Curiosity team is able to adjust plans on the fly to explore interesting details along the way.
Now the rover has been in Gale Crater since 2012. One of its goals is to find out if this area of Mars could have been useful for microbial life in the distant past. The rover is exploring the lower part of Mount Sharp, a massive central peak inside the crater. Here you can see several stunning rock formations, from tiny “spikes” to a natural niche, which many consider similar to a doorway. Now a cheerful boulder has been added to the interesting objects on the surface of the planet.
We had to really streeeeeetch Curiosity’s arm to get good MAHLI imaging of the small boulder the size of a large rover, but it looks like the hard work of the rover planners paid off in abundance! pic.twitter.com/6iUDQKwEFB
— dr.aster ????️⚧️ (@TerraSabaea) July 16, 2022
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