Feeds

Opportunity finds new patch of 'berries' on Mars

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

High performance access to file storage

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”. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.