The Curiosity rover has discovered a peculiar meteorite primarily made of iron and nickel on the surface of Mars.
NASA’s Curiosity rover continues to explore the red planet, making new discoveries as it travels across the barren planet. In his latest adventure, the veteran rover has come across a metallic object on the red planet’s surface. But instead of being the ultimate evidence of an ancient civilization on Mars, the rover has come across a rare but extremely important meteorite. Analyses of the object revealed it is primarily made of iron and nickel. The discovery was made public on Twitter after mission specialists published photographs of the curious objects they have dubbed cacao.
“Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. METEORITE! It’s not uncommon to find meteorites on Mars – in fact, I’ve done it a few times! But a change in scenery’s always nice. This one’s about a foot wide and made of iron nickel. We’re calling it “Cacao,” the Twitter account posted. The meteorite measures 30 centimeters in diameter.
NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Gale Crater, with a diameter of 154 kilometers, in 2012. Its goal was to figure out where the surrounding area could have been suitable for life as we know it in the distant past. Since 2014, the rover has been steadily climbing the rocks of Mount Sharp, a huge massif that rises some 5.5 kilometers into the sky from the center of Gale. The rover has traveled almost thirty kilometers across the Martian surface, snapping thousands of incredible landscape photographs and finding many odd and interesting artifacts along the way.
One of the more interesting meteorites was discovered by the robotic explorer in 2014, when it came across a 7-foot-long space rock called “Lebanon,” nicknamed “the Beast.” In fact, Lebanon and another rock called “Egg Rock” were two of the first objects Curiosity discovered on Mars.