Feeds

Opportunity finds new patch of 'berries' on Mars

Microbe-made Mars rocks mystery re-opens as Curiosity keeps trundling

Security for virtualized datacentres

The Curiosity rover kept trundling away over the weekend, with NASA reporting the vehicle has now moved 142 meters.

More exciting Martian action over the weekend took place at a spot NASA calls “an outcrop called Kirkwood in the Cape York segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater.” Ye Olde Opportunity rover is still hard at work in that region of the red planet, where it has found what Opportunity's principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University called “ … a dense accumulation of these small spherical objects.”

Opportunity has seen such things before. Back in 2004 it spotted similar spherules that came to be known as “blueberries”. Reports of the new batch emerged last Friday.

In a neat co-incidence, just two days before the new find, boffins from the University of West Australia publicised a paper in Geology on the first patch of blueberries asserting they have “clear evidence that microbes were essential in their formation”. That conclusion is based on observation of similar spherules on Earth, which bear “microstructures consistent with bacterial size and morphology.”

The newly-spotted objects, Squyres said, resemble Blueberries but are present in greater density than anything previously seen on the red planet. Initial analysis suggests they are also composed of different stuff compared to the first batch of decidedly ferrous berries.

Happily, NASA says the turning of Mars' seasons means Opportunity will soon have lots of lovely solar energy with which to carry out further investigations of the new berry patch and a nearby patch of ground suspected to house clay minerals.

Sources close to the missions told El Reg Curiosity is not jealous of the retro rover's success, but may have lost “that new rover smell”. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.