June 24, 2024

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Curiosity has found some really strange looking twisted rock constellations on the surface of Mars

Curiosity has found some really strange looking twisted rock constellations on the surface of Mars

The Curiosity probe has discovered a remarkable rock formation that cuts through the strange landscapes of Mars. Among the sand and shallow boulders of Gale Crater, several twisting towers of rock rise – sediment spikes look like frozen streams of water flowing from an invisible jug in the sky.

In fact, experts Say The columns may have consisted of cement-like materials that filled cracks in ancient rocks. As the softer rocks gradually eroded, streams of cohesive material remained.

Rock formations found on the surface of Mars. (NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech, MSSS)

The rock formations were I cut by a camera aboard the Curiosity rover on May 17, but the image was only shared last week by NASA and experts at the SETI Institute (which stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), as part of the SETI Planetary Image Initiative for Today.

Although they may look as strange as the structures, they are not without precedent.

in geology,head capIt is a tall and thin rocky tower formed by erosion. It can also be called tent rock, fairy chimney, or earth pyramid.

Hoods are usually found in dry environments, such as canyons of Utah or southern Serbia, and columns can sometimes rise to buildings ten stories tall.

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14713013206 007014b002 CHood in Bryce Canyon, Utah. (Don Graham/Flickr/CC BYSA 2.

Natural structures consist of hard rock layers that accumulate within softer sedimentary rocks. As the rest of the rock erodes away from rain, wind, or sleet, you’re left with a wonderful mold of an old fracture in the bedrock.

1600px Hoodoos at Sunset East Coulee Alberta CanadaHoodoos East Coulee, Alberta, Canada. (Darren Kirby / CC BY SA 2.0)

The two rock towers on Mars appear to be on the verge of collapse compared to those we see on Earth, but they’re clearly sturdy enough to withstand the lighter surface gravity the Red Planet has experienced.

Another strange rock formation that Curiosity found earlier this year may have been created in a similar way, albeit with very different results.

This other, slightly smaller rock looks like a piece of coral or a flower with many small petals stretching toward the sun.

“One theory that has emerged is that the rocks are a type of concrete created by minerals deposited by water in cracks or splits in existing rocks,” a NASA press release explained in time.

“This concrete material can stick together, it can be more solid and denser than the surrounding rock, and it can remain even after the surrounding rock has eroded.”

960 - Abdul MajeedA rock in the shape of a flower was found on the surface of Mars. (NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech, MSSS)

Gale crater isn’t exactly flat, but the strange constellations that Curiosity has discovered do stand out from the rest of its environment, although no height measurements accompany the image.

Tombstones towering in the rocks may seem lifeless now, but their formation speaks volumes about ancient conditions on Mars and whether life could have thrived there billions of years ago.

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Gale Crater itself is thought to be a dry lake bed, although it may be shallower and more transitional than previously thought.

The rock formations in and around the ancient lake help reveal the true history of the area.