When you’re a busy rover with a lot of lands to cover and vital science to do, you don’t always have time to stop and smell the roses — not to mention that flowers are scarce in other worlds. Curiosity didn’t let it stop her from finding a strange flower-like thing on the Martian surface and shooting a photo to bring home. The flower-like rock is smaller than a cent, according to NASA experts, and it – along with the two circular boulders that join it – was most likely produced millions of years ago by the Red Planet’s watery past.
The branching mineral deposit is only 1 centimeter (0.4 inches) tall and resembles a piece of coral as much as a flower. The image was taken on the slopes of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater, which Curiosity has been investigating since 2012. It is a composite of various photos taken with the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager, which uses its magnifying lens to acquire close-ups. It’s a common pastime to look for Earth-like creatures on Mars, however, it’s improbable that gorillas and mice will populate another globe without our knowing. Mars, on the other hand, does not require any more assistance in giving intriguing items to examine.
Yes, its robotic scientists may send back a lot of pictures of rocks, but those rocks – which range from mysterious purple coated to green, hiding ancient water, and even sneakily hitching rides – provide us with insights into Mars’s history, make-up, and answer the ultimate question: has there ever been, or could there ever be, life on Mars?
Few things are more aggravating than a stone stuck in your shoe that refuses to move. As the rover Perseverance discovered, this incredibly Earthly issue is also a problem on Mars. On February 25, 2022, the rover’s Onboard Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera snapped a tiny pebble caught within one of the rover’s six aluminum wheels. It looks to have been there since at least February 6, according to C|Net writer Amanda Kooser’s investigation through NASA’s raw pictures. The rover most likely kicked it up while trudging about Jezero Crater, which it has been exploring since February of last year.