The unusually smooth and reflective rock on Mars attracted the attention of NASA scientists, prompting an investigation into the rover of Curiosity.
After the spectacular and successful landing of the InSight probe on Mars earlier this week, our understanding, understandably, deviated from Curiosity, a rover that explores the red planet of 2012. While we are focused on InSight, NASA Six Wheel is working at a summit known as Vera Rubin, examining the rocks of Highfield, a unique part of the gray rocky base.
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Curiosity was already at the Highfield Drilling site, but NASA mission controllers wanted to look at the four previously discovered rocks, including an unusually smooth rock that, at least in black and white, looks a bit like a piece of gold.
The first suspicions of experts say the rock, called "Little Colossus", is a meteorite, but scientists from NASA will certainly not know until Curiosity does not conduct chemical analysis. ChemCam's Rover Instrument, which consists of a camera, spectrograph and laser, offers a chemical laboratory on-site.
That curiosity stumbled upon a meteorite is not surprising. The Rover has found several such facilities during their travels, including a huge metal meteorite in 2015 and a bright nickel and iron meteorite next year.
Other interesting objects discovered by Curiosity include a fragment that does not seem to belong to the planet, a strange and smooth object that turned out to be a piece of plastic shell that fell from the vehicle and a perfect look that, according to experts, is a product of a natural geological process called concretion. The most frightening incident can be that which happened in 2013, when Curiosity discovered stones that had superb resemblance to a squirrel, a classic example of pareidolia, a kind of optical illusion in which individuals, animals, or everyday objects are designed on random objects and insignificant.
In any case, the rover of Curiosity will also examine a rock called Flanders Moss, which got its name because of its dark colored shell. Once again, NASA will not know anything about this subject until it awakens from Curiosity and analyzes a sample. Two other rocks, Forres and Aidon, will also be examined before the Curiosity stops at the site of Highfield.
Unfortunately, curiosity is the only mobile rover on Mars at the time. His compatriot, River Opportunity, is out of action, because the storm of storm forced him into a hibernation regime, a dream from which he could not wake up. NASA has so far not announced that the mission is dead, but we need to know more about the status of Opianou at the beginning of next year. [NASA JPL]