Sunday, August 02, 2009

NASA Rover Discovers Unusual Rock on Mars

A NASA rover alone on the desert plains of the planet Mars has happened across an out of place big rock and this has grabbed the space agencies attention.

The two foot rock known as Block Island, was discovered on July 18 as the rover Opportunity was moving along and passing it by. NASA scientists then put the breaks on the rover's treads and turned it around to move in and photograph the rock.

NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, believe the dark grey rock could be that of a meteorite.

Little information was released on Friday by JPL, however the rock will be studied to look for origins of this mysterious fragment from space.

Opportunity took the two images on July 28th, 2009, on the 1959 solar Martian day or SOL. According to JPL, "Scientists will be testing the rock with the particle X-ray spectrometer to get composition measurements and to confirm if indeed it is a meteorite."

The Opportunity rover only travels about 50 to 75 feet a day on average; and has moved only 10.7 miles across the Martian surface.

The rover was launched from Cape Canaveral in July 2003, and arrived on Mars in January 2004 -- a few weeks after Opportunity's sister rover, Spirit, arrived following joint launches weeks apart.

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