"this could always be cunning PR plan to hide the fact that there are Martians on the surface with whom NASA has done a deal to keep quiet about"
Please don't encourage them, they are nutty enough on their own!
On Friday the internet was all a-flutter over a mysterious metallic-looking object that the Mars rover Curiosity snapped last month, but an analysis by NASA claims to have identified how it came to be. Curiosity snapped the picture in January using its MastCam camera mounted on the top of the rover, but the image only came to …
Difference being it's a 1 million to 1 chance of you winning, with several million people playing it's nearly garunteed one will win the lottery.
With an alien, it's a 1 in a million chance one will make it to earth, if they exist at all.
Effectively somebody winning the lottery is a million to a million.
Based upon the fact that the PDF they put out to explain this feature doesn't contain a single image comparable with the shot from mars, whilst a google image search for 'ventifact' returns a shitload of images that make the martian one look lame.
Maybe there's more funding for exploring mysterious places than boring ones.
Why don't you just admit that somebody left behind a piece of Apollo 11 when they refurbished the Apollo soundstage for the Curiousity mission!! :)
(Or maybe that was my tinfoil hat. It has gone missing lately, though I expect that it was taken by the race of super-intelligent monkeys left over from army biological warfare experiments.)
Not wanting to sound like one of the "nuts", but this looks a hell of a lot more interesting than what they are currently doing. Maybe it's me, but....they scooped up some dirt, did an analysis, and had a historic breakthrough (their words, not mine).
They recently drilled a hole in a rock......and got excited.
I'm not a scientist, know nothing about why they pick one (what seems to be boring) thing to focus on while ignoring other more interesting finds, but.... they are there to study things like this. At least try and analyze what the different types of rocks are, or point the camera at it for longer periods of time to determine how large it is....shed a little more light than guessing what it probably is while pointing at a hole saying "Wow!, look at this hole!"
It's our tax dollars, and I'm not saying since we paid for it we get to drive, but a little more time looking at curiosities might make us feel better after the tax man has come and gone.
There is certainly some sense in throwing these curiosities to the press to keep the program in the news and thereby prop up funding.
No doubt there is much going on behind the scenes that fails to interest the common man and therefore does not get into the media.
These formations happen when one type of rock (typically igneous) exists in another type of rock. On earth it is common to find these where igneous (volcanic) rock is forced through sedimentary rocks.
It was found on an old photo, so they may be some distance away by now. They reckon they know what caused it, so it's not particularly interesting or unusual. They may have decided that it's not worth spending limited rover lifespan in going back to look at it.
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The question is what kind and what is it's composition. Anything this different from the surrounding landscape with it's apparent color brilliance makes one wonder if it's a new mineral /gemstone and what kind.
If this is a "gemstone" it could have a mineral composition that is different than any on earth. If it doesn't then we still learn something, how much Mars has a mineral composition like earth. They have a laser for this kind of thing, why avoid it's use here? Either way NASAs' cut and run behavior has become an aggravating exerciser in avoidance of opportunities for possible new discoveries.
If NASA is going to "proclaim" this shiny rock is nothing to look at and run the other way rather than "Test" it, then I have to ask if NASA practices science anymore.
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There's actually a good succinct Wikipedia page on ventifacts but it's good to see ER keeping up the fight against Wikipedia by linking to an weird amateur page on Long Island ventifcacts complete with a snap of the teenage web page "designer" doing the double thumbs up. The artists impression of a woolly mammoth pasted on an out of focus pic of some ice and glacial moraine adds to the effect.
I get the impression that Nasa would say anything rather than give it a poke. If that rover came across some golden arches with a drive-thru (US English), Nasa would probably come up with some convoluted story rather than admit it was a McDonalds. Here we've got a planet with pretty much piss all atmosphere and suddenly it's able to polish hard objects better than a £5000 an hour hooker. My arse.