A “flower” found on Mars

This is perhaps the closest thing to finding a flower on Mars.

During its ongoing investigation of the Martian rocks of Gale Crater, the Curiosity rover encountered a small surprise. This rocky artifact, which looks like a piece of coral or a flower, is smaller than a coin.

According to Nasa.

Curiosity imaged the small rocky arrangement on Feb. 24 using the Mars Hand Lens Imager, a camera on the end of its robotic arm.

The find is similar to other small features Curiosity has found in the past, all of which formed “when mineralizing fluids flowed through conduits in rocks,” the agency reports. Previously, the Opportunity rover had also found “Martian blueberries”, small spheres. indicative of past watery soil existence on the red planet.

Each image captured by Curiosity and sharing these elements helps researchers reconstruct the timeline of the presence of water in the crater.

A decade of exploration

This year, Curiosity will celebrate a milestone: its 10th anniversary on Mars. Curiosity touched down on the Red Planet on August 5, 2012. For the past decade, it has explored the crater and the Mount Sharp landform at its center.

The mission was designed to determine if Mars was ever habitable for microbial life. Early on, the aptly named rover discovered chemical and mineral clues pointing to the planet’s habitability in the distant past. Since then, Curiosity has investigated the geological record to understand when Mars might have been better suited to support life.

Curiosity continues to weave its way through sharp rocks and ridges to collect rock and soil samples for analysis.

The car-sized rover paved the way for the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter, which are currently exploring Jezero Crater, 3,700 km away, and will possibly bring the first samples from Mars to Earth on future missions. . The combined efforts of these rovers could help answer the fundamental question of the possible existence of life on Mars.

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