More than eight years into its mission, Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is still sending back data and images that consistently fill us with wonder and periodically leave scientists scratching their heads. Consider the image above. Taken by Opportunity at an outcropping on the rim of Endeavour Crater known as Kirkwood, it reveals a small stretch of ground littered with tiny spheres, and geologists have no idea what they are or how they got there.
Opportunity discovered similar spherules at its landing site back in 2004, and those were a major find. Those were nicknamed "blueberries," and researchers using Opportunity's various tools determined that they were rich in hematite, an indicator of the presence of a wet environment at some point in the distant past. But these new spheres don't have the same iron-rich composition as blueberries. They are somewhat similar, but definitely not the same--not in composition nor in structure and distribution.
The image above (it's actually four images stitched together) was taken by the rover's Microscopic Imager and covers an area only about 2.4 inches across, so these things are seriously small. But they could hold big secrets. Stay tuned as this mystery unfolds; Opportunity's science team is currently devising the best way to use the rover's instruments to figure out exactly what these are made of, how they got where they are, and what that means for Mars' geological past.
It makes me happy to hear that we finding things on Mars that we have no understanding of.
Alien egg pods!
Yeah that looks *NOTHING* like folssilized coral at all...
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
Um... off the top of my head, cooled ejecta from a meteor strike, perhaps?
Proof of life on Mars.....rabbits
This pretty much looks like fossilized bubbles of some type of gas coming to the surface from under a bed of mud. Some even appear to have burst . . . What would be really interesting is to sample the gas trapped inside the bubbles.
Yikes, it seems some of these round nuggets have already hatched! Has anyone seen the old episode of Star Trek, where the alien life form was actually made of stone and melted tunnels throughout the planet and laid perfectly round eggs?
Proactiv Solution is a 3-step acne system that heals acne and prevents future breakouts. Clearly they forgot to send a bottle along with Curiosity.
If Mars gives you blueberries let the rover make blueberry pie.
The problem with this picture is it’s just too close. If they just pull back and show all of it, we see an fossilize Martian Dinosaur and the picture above is its skin close up.
So that is where I dropped my M&Ms.
Shooosh, please do not tell everyone about your poo poo problem.
Similar spheroids were noticed on an earlier mission. Those were formed by a non-biological process, & I suspect these will turn out to have been formed the same way.
Opportunity, MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover – B), is still active on Mars. I wonder what its been up to?
Currently, Curiosity is still in setup mode and only coughing up a few pics. Had we already forgotton about Mer-B? MER-B is still active as of 2012, having already exceeded its planned 90 day duration of activity by 8 years, &145 days. I kindo of feel sorry for the little guy. He has done great things and now seems forgotten.
Hey PoPSCI, since Curiosity isn't show much pics. can you get any new details and pics about MER-B?
ROBOTS ARE SUCH COOL PEOPLE!
looks like stucco with rocks in it, similiar texture to what some people put on the outside of their house
Yep. Bubblin brew or a meteorite or something. Add some to fermentation and get Martian Jack. Stuff makes you glow.
Fossilized Rice Krispie Treats. Or Hershey Air Delights.