Friday, September 21, 2012

Curiosity discovers Pyramid shaped mysterious rock on the red planet Mars

Looking uncannily like an Egyptian pyramid, it is not something you would expect to see on the surface of Mars. Nasa engineers were so intrigued by the unique, football sized rock, they have driven the Curiosity rover up to it for a closer rock. The football-size rock will be the first on Mars to be examined by rover's robotic arm .

Curiosity is about 8 feet (2.5 meters) from the rock. It lies about halfway from the rover's landing site, Bradbury Landing, to a location called Glenelg. The team plans to touch the rock with a spectrometer to determine its elemental composition and use an arm-mounted camera to take close-up photographs. Both the arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer and the mast-mounted, laser-zapping Chemistry and Camera Instrument will be used for identifying elements in the rock. Nasa hopes this will give them a new insight into the structure of the red planet, and also allow cross-checking of the two instruments.The rock has been named 'Jake Matijevic' after a Nasa employee who recently passed away.

Nasa has named the rock after the late engineer Jacob Matijevic, who was the surface operations systems chief engineer for Mars Science Laboratory and the project's Curiosity rover.  He passed away on August 20th, at age 64.Matijevic also was a leading engineer for all of the previous NASA Mars rovers: Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity.

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