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.
(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.
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).