Bizarre Martian 'book' spotted by NASA's Curiosity rover
The rover spotted a tiny Martian rock that looks eerily like a fossilized book on the surface of the Red Planet.
NASA's Curiosity rover snapped an intriguing picture of a tiny Martian rock that looks surprisingly like a fossilized book on the surface of the Red Planet.
The rover captured the image of the peculiar book-like rock on April 15 — the 3,800th Martian day, or sol, of its mission — using the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the end of its robotic arm, according to NASA. The red rock looks like two halves of an open book with a single page that has frozen halfway through being turned.
The rock may look somewhat like a book, but it is much smaller. The fossilized pageturner is actually just 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) across, according to NASA.
Related: NASA's Perseverance rover loses its hitchhiking 'pet rock' after more than a year together on Mars
"Rocks with unusual shapes are common on Mars," NASA representatives wrote. The strangely shaped rocks are made from minerals that were left behind by ancient water. These minerals would once have been buried beneath softer sediments, but billions of years of erosion by wind have blown away everything else, they added.
In February 2022, Curiosity spotted a branched "mineral flower" that was around 0.4 inch (1 cm) wide. And on Feb. 16, the rover photographed rocks imprinted with tiny ripples, or waves, left behind from an ancient lake.
Scientists have also seen larger-scale shapes carved out by ancient water on the Red Planet — including a large rock formation that looks just like a teddy bear's face and another that's a dead ringer for the frizzy-haired Muppet Beaker.
Curiosity has also caught a few images that are more stunning than perplexing. On Feb. 2, the rover captured the first clear images of "sun rays" on Mars, which occur when sunlight shines through gaps in the clouds during sunsets or sunrises when the sun is below the horizon.
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Harry is a U.K.-based staff writer at Live Science. He studied Marine Biology at the University of Exeter (Penryn campus) and after graduating started his own blog site "Marine Madness," which he continues to run with other ocean enthusiasts. He is also interested in evolution, climate change, robots, space exploration, environmental conservation and anything that's been fossilized. When not at work he can be found watching sci-fi films, playing old Pokemon games or running (probably slower than he'd like).
By Briley Lewis
By Harry Baker
My belief has always been that Mars was quite different 66 million years ago. I see a solar system pummeled in completeness. Earth experienced a planet-wide catastrophe changing forever the environment but remaining alive while the other planets such as Mars was shattered.
I will not dismiss the theory that even Venus was in another orbit at the time. Saturn gained rings though the current time element is stated as more like 100 MYA. Our solar system was rearranged and what we see today is more like what is left.
In short, the scars of many millions of years ago is evident all around us and accepted as a natural result of earthly evolution when the degradation wrought by cosmic circumstances remains.
This is what is left, not all there always was.
Just an interesting observation; perhaps the biblical account of Noah and all that transpired was actually the journey from Mars to earth containing all genetic information to restart a biome on this sister planet.
Farfetched? maybe not entirely.