I wanted to wait for the official report on the activities of NASA Curiosity, but it seems that people really missed him, once someone has tsvety⇗ in Martian prairies mereschatsya. A NASA delays the story about new developments, so let's start without them. Yes, there are findings from the Curiosity, and even those that can confound experimental research of Mars, not to mention enthusiasts.
NASA does not know what "all hands on deck ', so regardless of the value of working time rover, Jet Propulsion Laboratory is almost full staff left for the Christmas holidays. Before that operators Curiosity drove to a place from which to survey the surrounding hillsides well. Venue holidays rover they called Grandma's House - a house of my grandmother, which, in their opinion, it is best to celebrate Christmas. To Curiosity is not quite bummed he prepared many days a program of work. Usually he set the program for the day, but this time the planned activities for the week ahead. This technique is useful in April, when between Mars and Earth will be the Sun and the connection is interrupted for a few days.
During the holidays the rover took a full 360-degree panorama of the left 34-mm camera mast, and took a great panorama of the surrounding outcrops right 100mm mast camera.
Full size gigapan⇗
It was important to not only remove the photos, but also to send them, because poor communication lead to the fact that some of the rover stores frames received last month, and even more. During the holidays failed to transmit all new pictures and susekam Put.
For example, this "Misty Mountains" virtually no scientific value, so more than a month are more important things that require transfer.
This survey of 100 hydrochloride (Martian day) when Curiosity to the south approaching dust storm. A few days later it cleared up, but it still is now - on the 148th Salt - visibility is not returned to the former.
However, the fun began even earlier. I have rasskazyval⇗ that lowland Yellowknife Bay rover found a new white mineral that filled the cracks in the main, dark rock.
At the same time, the rover examined and stone, which then journalists will call "Martian flower».
It is likely, quartz or any related compound of silicon which has no sensational. And about how she got into the headlines, I will tell later.
Once the rover examined the "flower", he went to Grandma's house for the holidays. This is where the find was made, by which I, for a moment, eyes on the forehead climbed.
Somehow it's hard to believe that in this kingdom of red rocks and brown sand can be preserved, something so piercingly white.
There is still not clear whether the stone is so fragile, whether it is so heavy rover. What he really heavy, you might guess that's on this amazing frame.
Movement Curiosity caused such a fun micro-landslide a few meters from the robot.
But, apparently, and these stones are fragile. One picture can be traced all the way on the new white cracks.
What is this mineral NASA still does not tell, but the low interest in these findings by the rovers suggests that sensation will not.
They have done some shooting little laser at him, but did not even consider using the camera on the robot arm. Although the stones do not run away from them, and still on hand, can also will be engaged.
But Grandma's House found a more interesting object.
Unusual rock ridge, seen in the right part of the panorama, called Snake River. I've been interested in it, as she appeared in the frames of navigation cameras. Stones lined up in a strange line up clearly under the influence of some processes. Two options can be assumed at once - is a moraine or filling cracks.
Morena - a chain of stones, which, like a bulldozer, collects the glacier while driving. By themselves, the moraine to Mars is not news.
But in the crater Gale is not found direct evidence of glacial activity in any kilometer or in the meter scale.
A second possibility of such a linear structure - filling cracks. That is, there was a certain breed (although it may ice), which is cracked, the crack attacked these stones. Then the whole basis was destroyed (melted, weathered, has been blurred), and the stones that fall into a crevasse, proved stronger and remained in place. The oddity here is that such processes should cover all the neighborhood, and "snake" is found only one.
What will decide on the matter NASA, we will surely soon find out. The research process has just begun.
Is there no Snake River on what to see and tickle the imagination. For example, I have found here is a stone quarry near Moscow, then a second would not have doubted that this fossil.
And at the sight of here these "branches" where appropriate to talk about flowers and other greenery.
But here, everything is much simpler: cracked rock = & gt; filling cracks white mineral = & gt; weathered bedrock and stronger ties white.
White mineral in the cracks - it is likely to cast. About it has not yet been told, but there is every reason to believe that he is the best. But the bright white stones fragile contents may be different. Remembering the activities of "neighbor» Curiosity - Spirit, whose anniversary recently noted, can be compared to his discovery:
In his case, it turned out placers sulfate salts. And in another place this finding was the quartz sand - the ideal raw material for the manufacture of glass. The Gusev Crater, where Spirit was working the placers occurred at hydrothermal activity, but in the crater Gale Geyser is not expected. The situation is a little clearer when will be known spectrographic analysis, so we can only wait, and do not read over dinner Soviet newspapers.
Now about the "Mars Flower" and newspapermen. His example shows how to work at all on our greedy media sensationalism.
On December 3 when zavershilas⇗ previous epic "what he found there» ⇗, NASA does not tell the scientific news from the crater Gale. Editors media understand that people are eager to Mars, and Mars is not news. Then the most quick-witted journalist goes on UFO forum⇗ selects the most absurd comment «Flower?», And writes "discovery stirred up a discussion forum" (despite the fact that at the forum, most recognized that this is an ordinary stone such as quartz). Then the editor writes a little gag "possibly striking thing taken away from the rover," adds the expert comments: "This is a piece of rock" and it's done. The article is published, then it start to reproduce or translate other media: removed references to UFO Forum, expert comments and only the "rover photographed flower on Marse⇗».
The original article in Habre⇗
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