Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Opportunity rover beams back striking photo of mystery spheres

JPL/NASA
Mars rover beams back striking photo of mystery spheres | World | News | National Post: "Although NASA’s new Curiosity rover is stealing all of the headlines, it’s the long-in-service Opportunity rover that’s snapped one of the most curious photos from the Red Planet.

The rover has encountered a series of spherical outcroppings on the rock that look different from the “blueberries” of iron-rich spherules it photographed when it landed in 2004.

“This is one of the most extraordinary pictures from the whole mission,” said Opportunity’s principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., on NASA’s website. “Kirkwood is chock full of a dense accumulation of these small spherical objects. Of course, we immediately thought of the blueberries, but this is something different. We never have seen such a dense accumulation of spherules in a rock outcrop on Mars.”"