The record sent by the Curiosity probe raised questions about the appearance of rock formations on the Red Planet. What is that?
Many users saw it as a “door”, while others ventured into assumptions about whether an extraterrestrial civilization could create a “passage” on the Red Planet.
But what appears in the image taken by the Curiosity rover, which has been transmitting information about Mars since landing there in 2012, has a more logical explanation.
According to NASA, it’s all about perspective.
Origin and interpretation
On May 7, NASA published a new image of Earth on Mars recorded by the Curiosity Mast camera.
The US space agency identified the image as part of the “Sol 3466” series that was posted in several frames on the Mars Exploration Program website.
Since publication, some users have started theorizing about its shape and appearance of the “door” or “corridor”.
But this particular image is only one part of a series, seen in its entirety, changing the perspective of its dimensions and shape.
“It’s a very, very, very magnified image of a small fracture in a rock,” NASA explained to BBC News Mundo, the BBC’s Spanish-language news service.
In the following image, you can see the formation made up of the entire 3,466 photo series and how small the crack is in the Jezero Crater, which the Curiosity rover discovered in recent weeks.
Scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory shed light on how small the crack is, about 30 cm wide and 45 cm long.
“There are linear fissures all over this bulge, and this is a place where many linear fissures intersect,” NASA explained.
Several experts have evaluated the record in recent days.
Neil Hodgson, a British geologist who has studied Martian terrain, says that while it’s a “strange picture,” it’s not mysterious.
“In short, it feels like natural erosion to me,” he told Live Science.
The rock layers that can be seen in images like this are layers of silt and sand.
“They were deposited about 4 billion years ago in sedimentary conditions, probably in a river or sand dunes,” Hodgson said.
Soil fractures like these can naturally form cracks. In this case, the vertical slit intersects with the seams or seams to form such slits.
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