NASA’s Curiosity Probe I took a picture For a Lovecraftian feature on Mars last week: a seemingly oblong, dark hole in the planet’s exposed rocks that looks as if it leads into the Martian interior.
The image was taken on May 7 by Mastcam of the Curiosity rover during its capture Climb Mount Sharp. WWhile the grainy black and white image may contain conspiracy theories over the moon, it It almost certainly doesn’t show up Entrance to a strange underground community.
“It’s just the space between two fractures in a rock,” Ashwin Vasavada told Gizmodo in a phone call today. Vasavada is a project scientist at the Mars Science Laboratory Formation is definitely not the entrance to the level of video game dungeons. “We were wandering through an area formed by ancient sand dunes,” He said. These sand dunes cemented together over time, giving rise to sandstone outcrops that Curiosity runs through.
Vasavada told us that the fracture is about one foot high and that once the dunes stick together, were buried and not buried over time as the sand shifted on the surface of Mars. During this process, the sandstone was under varying pressure, causing it to bend and break in various places. “The fractures that we see in this region are generally vertical,” he explained. It is possible that this particular entrance fracture formed in one of two ways.
“I think what we have here [is] Either two vertical fractures, in which the middle piece was removed, or one vertical fracture, and the blocks moved away a little bit,” Vasavada said.
The Curiosity rover has been trawling around Mars since it landed in August 2012 in Gale Crater. The rover has since covered 17.3 miles (27.84 kilometers) In 3,472 Martian days, or “sol.” When Curiosity isn’t collecting rock and soil samples, it takes pictures with a panoramic Mastcam (mast + camera).
This image from Curiosity is another image An example of our tendency to see familiar shapes in an unfamiliar scene. In the past, people thought they saw all kinds of things outside Mars, including A Squirrel and spoon.
“Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff.”