Last week, NASA’s Curiosity spacecraft found something very unusual on the surface of Mars. In the photos taken by the camera installed in the device, you can see a small object deceptively reminiscent of … a plant. Amazed scientists wondered if they had just discovered the first evidence of life on the Red Planet.
A flower on Mars
After analyzing the discovery, the team of researchers found that the origin of the “Venus,” however, is a little less exciting than they initially thought. The object is actually a specific mineral formation with minute structures formed from minerals precipitated from water.
The researchers called the unusual composition “Blackthorn salt.” To get a better look at it, they used one of Curiosity’s 17 cameras, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), whose lens can take amazing close-ups. Photos taken by Muhli show the surface texture of the rocks. Thanks to them, scientists were able to make a three-dimensional model of the object.
Curiosity has previously spotted similar structures on the surface of Mars, which are called active crystal clusters. Diagenetics is the process of recombining or rearranging minerals in such a way that loose elements are formed in solid rock. Curiosity’s co-chief scientist, Abigail Freeman, said on Twitter that these structures were most likely formed from salts called sulfates.
See also: Cosmic feeling. An exoplanet discovered outside our solar system
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