Recent discoveries on Mars

October 7, 2010 | By | Add a Comment
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NASA robotic exploration of Mars continues at full speed, with a couple of interesting discoveries announced recently.

A close up image taken by NASA’s Mars Rover ‘Opportunity’ (which is driving across the surface of Mars as I write this) of a meteorite which landed on Mars and which was discovered last month has just been released.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University

(Text from NASA media release):  ‘The science team used two tools on Opportunity’s arm — the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer — to inspect the rock’s texture and composition. Information from the spectrometer confirmed that the rock is a nickel-iron meteorite. The team informally named the rock “Oileán Ruaidh” (pronounced ay-lan ruah), which is the Gaelic name for an island off the coast of northwestern Ireland. Opportunity departed Oileán Ruaidh and resumed its journey toward the mission’s long-term destination, Endeavour Crater, on Sol 2374 (Sept. 28, 2010) with a drive of about 100 meters (328 feet).’

Meanwhile, watching from space, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has imaged a new impact crater on the surface of Mars.

New Impact Crater (ESP_019195_2175) Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The crater was formed sometime between December 2007 and August 2010, and is approximately 7 meters in diameter. Further information about the discovery can be found here (including a link to Google Mars so you know where on Mars the crater really is).

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This website is maintained by Paul Floyd. I am an amateur astronomer (and school teacher) with 25 years experience (as at 2015) in running a range of education and public astronomy outreach activities. As of January 2015, I have been providing astronomy information via the WWW for eighteen years.