Research, Technology

The Curiosity rover has found a new object on Mars. What is this?

Unbelievable but true - Mars is the onlyknown to science as a planet inhabited only by robots. Right now, the Perseverance and Curiosity rovers are working on its surface, thanks to which scientists are learning more and more details about the past and present of our neighboring planet. For example, at the end of 2022, researchers discovered a rope-like object on its surface. Some people might think that this is the root of an alien plant, but no - it turned out that this is just part of the parachute with which Perseverance landed on Mars in 2021. Recently, another interesting object was found on the planet, which is a stone 0.3 meters wide. What do you think it is?

Curiosity rover finds new meteorite on Mars

Meteorites on the surface of Mars

The unusual stone was captured by a built-incamera of the Curiosity rover. Among all the other cobblestones, it was remarkable for its composition - the analysis showed that it consists of iron and nickel. For a long time to think about what it is, specialists from NASA did not have to. It has long been known that space objects that are 90% iron and 9% nickel are iron meteorites. The Curiosity team has named a new object on Mars the name Cocoa.

Meteorite "Cocoa" on Mars

The very fact that on the surface of Marsmeteorites lie - this is no longer a sensation. More than 3,000 days have passed since its launch in 2011, and the rover has traveled 29,000 kilometers, according to the Curiosity mission page on the NASA website. During this time, the device found several meteorites on its way - for example, in 2016 it photographed an object referred to as a “stone egg” or “golf ball”. Even earlier, in 2014, the Curiosity rover discovered a meteorite on Mars, which was given the name "Lebanon".

Meteorite "stone egg" on Mars

Lebanon meteorite on Mars

We talked about what meteorites are and how much they cost in this material. We also have an article on how to buy or sell a meteorite, here is the link.

What does the Curiosity rover do?

The Curiosity rover is an explorationmachine the size of a car. It was launched into space in 2011 and soft-landed on the Red Planet in 2012. The place of his arrival was Gale Crater - a huge hole on the surface of Mars, which was formed as a result of the fall of some large space object. Its width is 154 kilometers and scientists hope that once upon a time life existed in this area. There are deposits inside the crater, which could well have formed because millions of years ago the depression was filled with water.

3D model of the Martian crater Gale

For ten years of its work, the Curiosity roverproved that yes - once upon a time, Gale Crater had a potentially habitable system of lakes and streams. Moreover, it could be filled with water for millions of years and the microscopic creatures that lived in it had the opportunity to evolve into something more complex. With all this, the Curiosity rover is not looking for traces of bacteria and other microbes. This task was entrusted to the Perseverance apparatus, which is currently collecting Martian soil on the territory of the Lake Lake crater. The collected material in the future will be sent to Earth for study inside the laboratories.

Perseverance rover

See also: How many craters are there on the moon and what can they tell us?

Where is the Curiosity rover now?

Until September 2014, Curiosity wasat the bottom of Gale Crater. But then he began to climb to the top of Mount Sharp - this formation is 5.5 kilometers high and is located in the middle of the crater. Climbing a steep mountain is difficult for a rover and takes a lot of time. Only recently has it made the achievement of reaching an area that is rich in sediments formed under relatively dry conditions. Scientists hope that studying this area will help them understand when and why Mars went from a relatively warm and humid place to a lifeless desert.

Mount Sharp as seen by the Curiosity rover

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It is worth noting that meteorites fall onthe surface of Mars very often - it's just that often the place of impact is far from the working rovers. In 2021, an object so large fell on the planet that a crater 152 meters wide formed after it. Not only is the pit the size of two city blocks, but large chunks of water ice have erupted from it. Scientists already knew that there was frozen water on Mars, but they had never discovered any deposits of water ice near the equator. You can read more about this discovery here.