Curiosity Rover Finds Weird ‘Egg Rock’ Meteorite on Mars

mars-panorama-1NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity stumbled upon a dark grey, golf-ball-size object last week that looks nothing like the typical red-orange rocks that are normally seen on Mars.

To figure out exactly what this weird rock is and where it came from, Curiosity used its on-board rock-zapping laser to analyze the rock’s chemical composition. This test revealed that it is an iron-nickel meteorite that fell from the Martian sky. Curiosity’s science team dubbed the newfound meteorite “Egg Rock.”

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The Mars Rover Sent Back Some Pictures and They Look a Lot Like the American Southwest

mars-rover-nasaNASA’s Curiosity Rover recently returned some striking color images from Mars of the Murray Buttes, one of the lower regions of Mount Sharp.

The buttes and mesas are the eroded remains of ancient sandstone that have risen above the sandy, Martian surface. Studying the rock formations up close is giving scientists a better understanding of how Mars’ landscape was formed, says Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Mars makes closest approach to Earth in 11 years on May 30

Mars AtmosphereA rare opportunity on the horizon!

Last Sunday morning, Mars reached opposition with the sun, meaning the Red Planet, Earth and the sun were all arrayed in a straight line. But the moment did not mark Mars’ closest approach to Earth.

This Monday evening (May 30) at 5:35 p.m. ET, Mars will be the closest it has been to Earth since Oct. 5, 2005: 0.50321377 astronomical units (AU), or 46,762,695 miles . (One AU is the average distance from Earth to the sun — about 93 million miles.)

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Mars May One Day Have A Ring System Like Saturn

mars with water

Interesting news from IFL Science:

Phobos is getting closer and closer to Mars, and it’s liking the fall so much that it might just put a ring on it. Astronomers think that in 20 to 40 million years, Phobos will break apart, giving the Red Planet a ring comparable with the outer planets of the Solar System.

According to the research, published this week in Nature Geoscience, Phobos is being pulled apart by Mars’ gravity. The closer it gets to the Red Planet, the more intense these forces will be. If the moon breaks apart before it enters the Martian atmosphere, it would create a long-lived ring system, capable of remaining stable for millions of years.

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Mars Depiction in Blockbuster Movies

Mars Atmosphere

Jeff Peterson wrote an excellent article about how movies portray the mystical Red Planet:

The Red Planet has been in the news a lot recently, with the one-two punch of a groundbreaking scientific discovery of water and a big-budget Hollywood movie starring Matt Damon.

Of course, people’s fascination with Earth’s next-door neighbor dates back millennia, and both the planet and the little men who may or may not inhabit it have been a major part of sci-fi movies in particular from, well, the very beginning of sci-fi movies.

Read more here: Review Journal


George RR Martin on how we are Obsessed with Mars

mars with water

A very interesting piece in The Guardian from the author of Game of Thrones himself:

Once upon a time there was a planet called Mars, a world of red sands, canals and endless adventure. I remember it well, for I went there often as a child. I come from a blue-collar, working-class background. My family never had much money. We lived in a federal housing project in Bayonne, New Jersey, never owned a car, never saw much of anywhere. The projects were on First Street, my school was on Fifth Street, and for most of my childhood those five blocks were my world.

Read the full article at The Guardian


Martian Life in Last Lake Found by Scientists?


Interesting speculation from Business Insider:

A trio of scientists says they’ve identified the best place to look for evidence of ancient life on Mars — one of the youngest lake-bearing basins ever discovered.

Though Mars has no liquid water today, the Red Planet was submerged under vast oceans billions of years ago. And where there’s water, there’s the potential for life.

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Mars Rover Notices a Peculiar Figure


Could it be… John Carter?

The truth is out there … maybe. A mysterious woman-like shape in a picture taken by NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover is creating buzz on social media.

In a post entitled “Alien Woman on Mars Watching Rover From Hill” the UFO Sightings Daily website said that the shape “looks like a woman partly cloaked.”

Read the full article at Fox News
Photo by (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)


Pluto gets a new fly-by from NASA after a long time!

Image of Pluto from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA's New Horizons spacecraft

Fans of the forgotten dwarf-planet rejoice!

NASA’s New Horizons probe flew by Pluto this morning (July 14), capturing history’s first up-close looks at the far-flung world — if all went according to plan. (Mission team members won’t declare success until they hear from New Horizons tonight.) Closest approach came at 7:49 a.m. EDT (1149 GMT), when the spacecraft whizzed within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) of Pluto’s frigid surface. To celebrate, NASA unveiled the latest photo of Pluto, showing a reddish world with a stunning heart-shaped feature on its face.

Read the full article at Yahoo News