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[Merged]Curiosity Targets Unusual Rock

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NASA Mars Rover Targets Unusual Rock on Its Journey

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The drive by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity during the mission's 43rd Martian day, or sol, (Sept. 19, 2012) ended with this rock about 8 feet (2.5 meters) in front of the rover. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech› Full image and caption › Latest images › Curiosity gallery › Curiosity videos

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has driven up to a football-size rock that will be the first for the rover's arm to examine.

Curiosity is about 8 feet (2.5 meters) from the rock. It lies about halfway from the rover's landing site, Bradbury Landing, to a location called Glenelg. In coming days, the team plans to touch the rock with a spectrometer to determine its elemental composition and use an arm-mounted camera to take close-up photographs.

Both the arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer and the mast-mounted, laser-zapping Chemistry and Camera Instrument will be used for identifying elements in the rock. This will allow cross-checking of the two instruments.

The rock has been named "Jake Matijevic." Jacob Matijevic (mah-TEE-uh-vik) was the surface operations systems chief engineer for Mars Science Laboratory and the project's Curiosity rover. He passed away Aug. 20, at age 64. Matijevic also was a leading engineer for all of the previous NASA Mars rovers: Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity.

Curiosity now has driven six days in a row. Daily distances range from 72 feet to 121 feet (22 meters to 37 meters).

"This robot was built to rove, and the team is really getting a good rhythm of driving day after day when that's the priority," said Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager Richard Cook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The team plans to choose a rock in the Glenelg area for the rover's first use of its capability to analyze powder drilled from interiors of rocks. Three types of terrain intersect in the Glenelg area -- one lighter-toned and another more cratered than the terrain Curiosity currently is crossing. The light-toned area is of special interest because it retains daytime heat long into the night, suggesting an unusual composition.

"As we're getting closer to the light-toned area, we see thin, dark bands of unknown origin," said Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. "The smaller-scale diversity is becoming more evident as we get closer, providing more potential targets for investigation."

Researchers are using Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) to find potential targets on the ground. Recent new images from the rover's camera reveal dark streaks on rocks in the Glenelg area that have increased researchers' interest in the area. In addition to taking ground images, the camera also has been busy looking upward.

On two recent days, Curiosity pointed the Mastcam at the sun and recorded images of Mars' two moons, Phobos and Deimos, passing in front of the sun from the rover's point of view. Results of these transit observations are part of a long-term study of changes in the moons' orbits. NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, which arrived at Mars in 2004, also have observed solar transits by Mars' moons. Opportunity is doing so again this week.

"Phobos is in an orbit very slowly getting closer to Mars, and Deimos is in an orbit very slowly getting farther from Mars," said Curiosity's science team co-investigator Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, College Station. "These observations help us reduce uncertainty in calculations of the changes."

In Curiosity's observations of Phobos this week, the time when the edge of the moon began overlapping the disc of the sun was predictable to within a few seconds. Uncertainty in timing is because Mars' interior structure isn't fully understood.

Phobos causes small changes to the shape of Mars in the same way Earth's moon raises tides. The changes to Mars' shape depend on the Martian interior which, in turn, cause Phobos' orbit to decay. Timing the orbital change more precisely provides information about Mars' interior structure.

During Curiosity's two-year prime mission, researchers will use the rover's 10 science instruments to assess whether the selected field site inside Gale Crater ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

For more about Curiosity, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl . You can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

Guy Webster / D.C. Agle 818-354-5011

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,Calif.

guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov / agle@jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726

NASA Headquarters, Washington

dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

2012-295

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Clearly evidence of a tiny race of aliens

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awwwwwww so cute tiny ikkle alien pyramid or is it, it might be the tip of a pyramid the size of olympus mons but its buried from millions of years of dust gathering up and an alien conspiracy to cover there existance, or the aliens are living in it and its underground because of the harsh conditions and a dust storm has uncovered the tip of it.

or its just a rock that looks like a pyramid a complete coincidence of nature on mars and corrosion.

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THATS THE TOP OF MY GATEPOST..... can nasa please send it back when their done with it. always knew my next door neighbour was martian never got my hovermower back of him and if nasa find that they can keep it (got a new ride on!)

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Obviously it's a Martian scale model of the Egyptian pyramids.

(Joking)

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I

see

50

faces.

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Y`all beat me to it ! I thought this would fit well in the Best Evidence thread,But It works here too !

Marvin left that right in front of Curiosity just to tease us. Its like when E.T comes to ck on us here on earth, Were eithe drunk. half asleep,or only able to take blury photos of them.

At least we have great cameras on Curiosity ! :tu:

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snicker that puts the kibosh on the claim those eastern European pyramid mountains cant possibly be natural then

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Yep, that's a rock all right! Obvious proof that Martians influenced the Egyptians. Now if they can just find a tiny Sphinx.

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Its a vendors souvenier from some alien families trip to Egypt.

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I wonder if the Rover is carrying a poop-scoop......

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It's a shame to see so many jaded responses. I for one, remain in awe of the fact that Curiousity is beaming pictures from the surface of Mars.

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The full picture for this is crazy, the rock is like all by its self in a clear area.

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It resemble's a capstone off a pyramid (in my opinion)

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It's the nose of the sphinx the God damm martians stole it

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It's a shame to see so many jaded responses. I for one, remain in awe of the fact that Curiousity is beaming pictures from the surface of Mars.

Pretty sure most people are still in awe & comments are unrelated to that ;)

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I'm more intersted in the formation just behind and to the left of the pyramid rock.

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That is a 'rock' taken from a high altitude. Its actual height is 217 meters.

Edited by Ashiene

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That is a 'rock' taken from a high altitude. Its actual height is 217 meters.

Hmmm where'd you pull that from/

Article says: 'the rock is about 10 inches tall and 16 inches across.'

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If you are not in awe, visit this panorama. Click on the full-screen button, then click and drag (small movements - it sorta works backwards..)

Mars Panorama, Day 2

If that doesn't give you an eerie/awe-struck feeling about what it would be like to be up there, I don't know what will..

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Why is it that tax dollars is being wasted going to and exploring a dead planet?

Edited by jranderson

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Why is it that tax dollars is being wasted going to and exploring a dead planet?

Why did you spend your money on a computer and internet connection when it could have gone towards medicines and food for people in need..?

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It's the nose of the sphinx the God damm martians stole it

Lol

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Are there any geologist in the forum who could explain how a rock might achieve this shape naturally? I realize we are dealing with an alien planet with some alien geologicical forces, but assuming what occurs naturally on Earth occurs on Mars too. How would nature create a Pyrimid shaped rock? I feel I will get blasted because there are so many variables, but it does makes me wonder.

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Clearly evidence of a tiny race of aliens

Martians are 1/16 of an inch? Amazing!

On a serious note I'd like to see what the analysis is. Probably just space debris.

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