The Curiosity rover took a picture of something very attractive this week on the surface of Mars. While the thing in question looks like a tiny little flower or maybe some kind of organic feature, the rover Team confirmed This organism is a mineral formation, having minute structures formed from minerals precipitated from water.
Actually curiosity I’ve seen these kinds of features before, which are called diagenetic crystal clusters. Diagenetic means re-formation or rearrangement of minerals, and these features consist of three-dimensional crystal clusters, likely composed of a mixture of minerals.
Curiosity Project Deputy Scientist Abigail Freeman said on Twitter that these previously seen features are made of salts called sulfates.
(1/3) Your Friday Zen Moment: A beautiful new micrograph from Tweet embed They show very small and minute structures formed by the precipitation of minerals from the water.
– Abigail Freeman (@abbyfrae) February 26, 2022
From previous studies of features like this one on Mars (You can read a paper about it here), originally the feature was embedded within a rock, which has eroded over time. However, these metal combinations appear to be corrosion resistant.
Another name for these features is concrete, which you may remember from the Opportunity rover, which saw the features called ‘blueberry,’ Because it was small and round. You can see round concretes next to a flower-like feature in this photo.
The rover’s science team saw this feature earlier this week and named it “Blackthorn salt.” They used a handheld Mars Lens imaging device, called the MAHLI, to capture these close-up images. This camera is the rover’s version of the hand-held magnifying glass that geologists usually carry with them in the field. MAHLI close-ups reveal minerals and textures in rock surfaces.
Here you can see a 3D model of the object, thanks Simeon Shams:
Curiosity found another A floral-like feature back in 2013And the spiritual chariot found similar-looking rocks that were named “cauliflower” because of their jagged outcrops.
We thank Kevin Gill who processed the images taken on Sol 3397. See more adorable Curiosity photos handled by Kevin on his Flickr page.
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