Home > Science/Astronomy > NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Reveals Geological Mystery: Spherical Objects Unlike Previously Found ‘Blueberries’

NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Reveals Geological Mystery: Spherical Objects Unlike Previously Found ‘Blueberries’

ScienceDaily (Sep. 14, 2012) — NASA’s long-lived rover Opportunity has returned an image of the Martian surface that is puzzling researchers.

Small spherical objects fill the field in this mosaic combining four images from the Microscopic Imager on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./ USGS/Modesto Junior College)
 

Spherical objects concentrated at an outcrop Opportunity reached last week differ in several ways from iron-rich spherules nicknamed “blueberries” the rover found at its landing site in early 2004 and at many other locations to date.

Opportunity is investigating an outcrop called Kirkwood in the Cape York segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The spheres measure as much as one-eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) in diameter. The analysis is still preliminary, but it indicates that these spheres do not have the high iron content of Martian blueberries.

“This is one of the most extraordinary pictures from the whole mission,” said Opportunity’s principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. “Kirkwood is chock full of a dense accumulation of these small spherical objects. Of course, we immediately thought of the blueberries, but this is something different. We never have seen such a dense accumulation of spherules in a rock outcrop on Mars.”

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120914154003.htm

 

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