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 say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.