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A mysterious discovery on Mars – NASA talks about “tire tracks” or “dragon scales”

A mysterious discovery on Mars – NASA talks about “tire tracks” or “dragon scales”

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NASA's rover is drawing attention again with an unusual discovery on Mars. The research team is excited – and wants to take a closer look.

PASADENA – During their exploration missions on Mars, NASA's Curiosity and Perseverance rovers repeatedly discover things that are interesting not only for research, but also for observers. Recently, Perseverance was able to discover a shark fin and a lobster claw on Mars. Naturally, there are no animal remains on the Red Planet, where life has not yet been discovered, but rather just stones of an unusual shape.

Now the longest-serving Mars rover, Curiosity, has discovered unusual stones. The research robot, which has been active on the Red Planet since the summer of 2012, photographed a very unusual layer of rocks there. It seems that the research team that saw the images on the ground for the first time was amazed by the engraved stones. Team members used terms like “wavy,” “tire tracks,” or “dragon scales” to describe the image, explains planetary geologist Michelle Minniti, who studied Curiosity.Update status on photo books.

The Mars rover Curiosity photographs the magnificent stones

“We've seen a lot of layered rocks on Mars over the past 12 years, but they really stand out because of the amazing patterns they create on the rocky surfaces,” the researcher confirms. The rock, which the team named “Sawblade,” was “the real surprise of the day,” Minetti said. The researcher gave her status update the title “What is this??” With two question marks, perhaps to express surprise.

Spacecraft found
NASA's Curiosity rover has found rocks that some experts liken to “dragon scales” or “tire tracks” (above left) on Mars. © NASA/JPL-Caltech/LiaKoltyrina/Imago (montage)

The scientist explains that the scientific team tries to maintain a balance between “typical” and “atypical” results when making new observations. “We want 'typical' observations to ensure that the dominant rock type is captured and tracked systematically. We want 'unusual' observations because they could indicate a change in rock type or chemistry that reveals a new geological process or system on Mount Sharp.”

Stones that resemble
Stones resembling “dragon scales” or “tire tracks” (pictured above) – these are the latest discoveries of NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. One of the rover's wheels can also be seen. © NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's spacecraft is supposed to examine the stone called the “saw blade” in more detail

The plan now is for Curiosity's “ChemCam” to examine the chemistry and texture of the stone called the “saw blade.” Mastcam aims to capture a mosaic of the entire set of stone blocks — “so we can get a closer look at these new wild wonders,” Minniti said. “Who knows what we'll find next?” (unpaid bill)