A Mars rock spotted by NASA may be a meteorite

This story is part of Welcome to Marsour series that explores the red planet.

It’s always a pleasure when a NASA rover finds something that doesn’t fit on the surface of Mars. sometimes, It lands debris. Sometimes it’s a rock that wanders in from somewhere else. sometimes It’s a meteorite from space. The Curiosity rover team is baffled about a Funky little gray rock that stands out from its surroundings. It might be a meteorite.

“This is an unusual gray floating rock which may be remnants of material on top of Mount Sharp or it may be a meteorite. We have analyzed a few meteorites over the past 10 years, but they are not so abundant that we fail to be excited by a new idea,” Written by planetary geologist Catherine O’Connell Cooper In this week’s rover update.

This Curiosity image from October 2022 shows the thin, dark Marker Band layer running from left to right (although it is thinner on the left).


a “floating” rock It is one that comes from another place. The rock in the Curiosity image is similar to previous Martian meteorites, which have a dark, shiny appearance to them.

Mars has a long history of being bombarded by rocks from space. Even the dearly departed NASA InSight lander picked up The sounds of meteorite collisions during its mission.

Curiosity is exploring Gale Crater, making its way up the slopes of the crater’s massive central mountain, Mount Sharp. One area of ​​interest here is the geological formation called the Defined Range, which O’Connell-Copper described previously Like a thin dark band whose origin is unclear. The mysterious rock lies below the marked range.

Meteorites on Mars are worth studying. in 2016, NASA investigated a meteorite The name “Egg Rock” was found by Curiosity. The Egg Rock was an iron meteorite that may originally have been part of an asteroid core. Scientists are interested in How exposure to the Martian environment affects iron meteorites And how does that compare with the experience of meteorites on Earth.

Curiosity has been on Mars for over 10 years, but sightseeing never gets old. The Mysterious Rock is the latest visual mini-plot fromantastic Planet.