While the Perseverance rover is busy analyzing the surface of Mars, a rock was captured in a photo taken on September 7… in the shape of a sombrero. But what is it really?
An alien hat? In February 2021 and after seven months of a 480 million kilometer journey, the Perseverance rover landed on Mars. Since then, this rover (described by Numérama as a vehicle “developed with the aim of exploring a celestial body other than Earth”) has been exploring the Red Planet in search of samples while taking numerous photos. At 12:44 a.m. Mars time on September 7, this 2-meter-tall, 1,025-kg NASA robot photographed a strange shape on the surface of the robot named after the god of war in Roman mythology. Namely a mass that resembles a sombrero. This information, shared by Gentside on September 13th, has since spread across the internet.
Described as “a hollow shape with a bump in the middle”, this discovery sparked a reaction on X (formerly Twitter). “It’s a Martian sombrero. With the planet’s thin atmosphere, the sun hits very hard,” one user wrote amusingly. But what is it really?
A shape that even fascinates NASA
If its shape caused astonishment, that is entirely understandable. It is simply a hat-shaped stone. And yet even NASA was puzzled by this strange mass, as it ordered the rover to multiply the shots.
Fortunately, this device sent to Mars serves a purpose other than entertaining the population. Until the end of its mission, planned around 2031, This machine takes its name from Alexander Mather, a college student living in the state of Virginia, winner of a Competition organized by NASA For the attention of American students, data is being collected that has already borne fruit.
Life on Mars?
Thanks to the samples provided, researchers discovered, among other things… organic molecules. Coming from the crater called Jezero, this “Traces of Life” consist of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. According to a study published July 12 in the journal Nature, “The presence and distribution of preserved organic matter on the Martian surface may provide important information about Mars’ carbon cycle and the planet’s potential to support life throughout its history.” Although This discovery does not confirm the existence of life as we know it on Earth, but it does suggest it The conditions necessary for the emergence of living things may have been met at a certain point in Mars’ history.
You may also be interested in:
⋙ The massive search for Mars samples begins in March 2020
⋙ Why the closest planet to Earth… is neither Venus nor Mars
⋙ There was life on Mars, but we may have killed it 50 years ago, says a biologist