Feeds

ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial

And NASA kept evidence to itself for over a month

Business security measures using SSL

Picture NASA's Curiosity rover has stumbled across a massive iron meteorite half buried in the sands of Mars – an object the US space agency has dubbed Lebanon.

The Lebanon meteorite found by Curiosity

The Lebanon meteorite found by Curiosity

The two-metre-wide rock was discovered by the Martian robot on May 25. It was photographed using the nuclear-powered tank's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument. Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) was used to determine the body's color and contrast levels. Now NASA has published the combined image and a preliminary analysis of what the meteorite is made from.

"The imaging shows angular shaped cavities on the surface of the rock. One possible explanation is that they resulted from preferential erosion along crystalline boundaries within the metal of the rock," said the boffins.

"Another possibility is that these cavities once contained olivine crystals, which can be found in a rare type of stony-iron meteorites called pallasites, thought to have been formed near the core-mantle boundary within an asteroid."

It's not the first meteorite found on Mars. Back in 2005 the Opportunity rover found an iron/nickel extraterrestrial boulder lying on a sand dune on its path, but wasn't able to do much in the way of testing; NASA ended up halting the attempt after a quarter of the rover's drill was worn away by the rock.

As for the Lebanon find, NASA says it is likely the space rock has been sitting on the Martian plains for millions of years. Iron meteorites are eroded much more slowly on Mars than on Earth, thanks to Earth's oxygen-rich atmosphere and overall moistness, while on the Red Planet the only erosive forces that we know about come from wind-blown dust.

The space agency may decide to investigate the meteorite further, but at least one person has a good idea for the lump of big iron. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
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
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.