Curiosity Found Some Really Weird-Looking, Twisty Rock Towers on Mars

Curiosity Found Some Really Weird-Looking, Twisty Rock Towers on Mars

The Curiosity rover has found an outstanding rock formation penetrating the alien landscape of Mars. Many winding towers of rock rise among the shallow sands and boulders of Gale Crater—spikes of sediment almost looking like frozen streams of water poured from an invisible jug into the sky.

In fact, experts Say The pillars were probably made of cement-like materials that once filled the ancient cracks in the cornerstone. As the soft rock slowly eroded, snaking streams of compact material remained standing.

Ftspaaxwiaevxls 1Rock formations found on Mars. ,NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS,

The rock formations were snapped by a camera on the Curiosity rover on May 17, but the image was captured only last week as part of SETI’s planetary photo by experts from NASA and the SETI Institute (which stands for the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Intelligence). was shared in. day’s initiative.

As exotic as the structures may look, they are not without precedent.

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In earthly geology, a ‘hoodoo’ is a tall and slender crest of rock formed by erosion. It may also be called Tent Rock, Fairy Chimney or Earth Pyramid.

Hoodoos are usually found in arid environments, such as the valley of Utah or southern Serbia, and the pillars can sometimes be as high as ten-story buildings.

14713013206 007014B002CA hoodoo in Bryce Canyon, Utah. (Don Graham / Flickr / CC BY SA 2.0)

Natural formations are formed from layers of hard rock that form within soft sedimentary rock. As the rest of the rock is eroded away by rain, wind or frost, you are left with the spectacular mold of an ancient fracture in the cornerstone.

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1600Px Hoodoos At Sunset East Coulee Alberta CanadaHoodoos East Cowley, Alberta, Canada. (Darren Kirby/CC BY SA 2.0)

The two towers of rock on Mars look like they’re about to collapse compared to those seen on Earth, but clearly they’re solid enough to withstand the light surface gravity experienced on the Red Planet.

Another strange rock formation found by Curiosity earlier this year may have formed in a similar way, though with very different results.

This second, smaller reef looks like a piece of coral or a flower with many tiny petals that are pulled towards the sun.

“One theory that has emerged is that the rock is a type of concrete formed by minerals deposited by water in cracks or divisions in existing rock,” a NASA press release was reported at the time.

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“These concretes can be compacted together, become harder and denser than the surrounding rock, and can persist even after the surrounding rock is removed.”

Flowerrock Curiosity 960Flower-shaped rock found on Mars. (NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS)

Gale Crater is not completely flat, but the alien spire discovered by Curiosity is distinct from the rest of its environment, although there are no height measurements accompanying the image.

The rock-topped mausoleums may seem lifeless now, but their formation speaks volumes about ancient conditions on Mars and whether life may have once flourished there billions of years ago.

Gale Crater is thought to have a dried-up lake bed, although it is probably shallower and more transient than experts believe.

The rocks in and around the ancient lake are helping to reveal the true history of the region.


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