A recent image taken by NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, shows a shiny, metallic, somewhat strange looking object protruding out of a rock. The image was taken on January 30, 2013, by Curiosity’s Mastcam.
At first glance it appears to be a piece of iron, that hasn’t been oxidized, as a result of the extremely low quantities of oxygen on Mars. It could perhaps be from a iron meteorite? It’s probably impossible to know without further investigation by the rover, and even then it may not be entirely clear. It’s probably important to note that the formation is not something of a size significant to humans though, it’s only around 0.5 cm tall.
Very interesting though, it certainly stands out from the typical Martian surface environment. Hopefully NASA will address this, and investigate it further.
In other Curiosity news, the rover just used its drill for the first time on February 3rd, testing out its ‘hammering’ ability. There are still a few more tests that the mission commanders will perform before the first true use of the drill occurs. But once it does, Curiosity will allow us to see what is inside of Martian rocks for the first time.
Curiosity’s stated goals are the “investigation of the Martian climate and geology; assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, including investigation of the role of water; and planetary habitability studies in preparation for future human exploration.”
Source: Universe Today
Image Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS