Mars rover Opportunity has sent new images of the surface of the Red Planet, which puzzled the researchers.
Accumulation of spherical objects in an area where Opportunity reached last week differ in some way from the iron-rich spheres called researchers "blueberries" found its place on the Mars Rover landing, as well as in many other regions of Mars in 2004.
Opportunity explores outcrop called Kirkwood (Kirkwood) located in the Cape York segment of the western edge of the crater Endeavour (Endeavour). Ball size is not more than 3 millimeters in diameter. According to preliminary estimates of researchers, round objects do not contain as much iron as the Martian "blueberries".
"This is one of the most extraordinary images taken throughout the mission," - said the chief researcher Opportunity, Skyures Steve (Steve Squyres) from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. "Kirkwood thickly strewn with these small spherical objects. Course, we immediately thought that it was already known to us," blueberry ", but in fact it is something else. We’ve never seen such a dense cluster of balls in the Martian rocks."
Martian "blueberries" Finding Opportunity in different areas of the planet is a concretion formed by water rich in minerals, rocks, confirming the presence of a moist environment at an early stage of development Mars. "Blueberry" is formed by the action of mineral crystallization of water and becomes a solid substance, postponing in sedimentary rocks. Many balls Kirkwood defeated and destroyed by the wind. Where the spherical formations "etched" partially blown, fused structure is better noticeable.
Opportunity used the microscopic imager to take a closer consider Kirkwood. Composition of pellets was studied by researchers spektometra Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer, installed in the "hand" of the rover.
Original: Sciencedaily.com Translation: M. Potter