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Possible Meteorite Imaged By Opportunity Rover

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the marvin-is-right-behind-it dept.

Mars 82

Matt_dk writes "The Opportunity rover has eyed an odd-shaped, dark rock, about 0.6 meters (2 feet) across on the surface of Mars, which may be a meteorite. The team spotted the rock called 'Block Island,' on July 18, 2009, in the opposite direction from which it was driving. The rover then backtracked some 250 meters (820 feet) to study it closer. Scientists will be testing the rock with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer to get composition measurements and to confirm if indeed it is a meteorite."

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I bet its an obelisk (1)

Hansele (579672) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928221)

After all you know, Arthur C Clarke predicted this in 2001: A Space Odyssey, then in 2010

Re:I bet its an obelisk (2, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929961)

Just hope it's not a monolith.

Re:I bet its an obelisk (1)

3chuck3 (512455) | more than 5 years ago | (#28930097)

No Warhammer 40000 Necron Scout debris, Necrons came to Vaul Moon to look for their lost God, the Void Dragon!!!!!

Re:I bet its an obelisk (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28932019)

It's probably an native crouching down, thinking "if I just stay still, maybe it won't probe me".

No chance, because paybacks a bitch. Now, we just need to figure out which end is the front and which is the back...

Re:I bet its an obelisk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28934495)

Now, we just need to figure out which end is the front and which is the back...

As if that matters at all.

Re:I bet its an obelisk (0, Offtopic)

ManuelH (1303433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28933443)

I bet you is an Asteroid [xkcd.com]

NASA should make RC toys (3, Insightful)

InMSWeAntitrust (994158) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928307)

NASA should make RC toys to build funds, if anything I bought lasted as long as these rovers, I'd be a happy camper.

Re:NASA should make RC toys (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928337)

I'd buy a model ISS to hang from my ceiling. The best part? They can charge extra for the add-ons!

Re:NASA should make RC toys (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928549)

even better is make one with lots of wireless accessories that can roll around in your yard, things like a camera, microphone, loud speaker, pepper spray, tazer, machinegun (well maybe not a machinegun)

Re:NASA should make RC toys (2, Funny)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928613)

Just let me attach an "Ion Cannon" to it :D

Re:NASA should make RC toys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28929675)

That would be called "The Wowee Rovio"....

Re:NASA should make RC toys (2, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929935)

> (well maybe not a machinegun)

Yeah, the recoil would bounce the thing all over.

Therefore; Rocket launcher.
=Smidge=

Re:NASA should make RC toys (1)

Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929177)

And then kids would buy them and dream of being astronauts and hell...maybe in 1000 years the United Earth Sphere Alliance will finally put money into space development. Until the Gundams come...

Re:NASA should make RC toys (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929435)

NASA should make RC toys to build funds, if anything I bought lasted as long as these rovers, I'd be a happy camper.

Yeah but who the hell is going to buy an RC toy that has a top speed of 0.1 mph and doesn't respond to your commands for twenty minutes?

and costs millions of dollars? (1)

WoTG (610710) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929805)

I don't think I'd be able to afford a realistic version of the rover... but an officially licensed NASA rover toy would be kind of cool.

Re:NASA should make RC toys (5, Funny)

James Skarzinskas (518966) | more than 5 years ago | (#28930127)

IE users?

Re:NASA should make RC toys (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 5 years ago | (#28930261)

It's too bad I don't have mod points, the parent actually made me laugh.

Re:NASA should make RC toys (1)

ukyoCE (106879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28931835)

Which is going to live longer, the Mars Rover or IE 6

>.

And costs $500 million... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28933189)

And costs $500 million...

Re:NASA should make RC toys (1)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28933365)

Radio Shack customers?

Re:NASA should make RC toys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28940651)

Don't you mean The Shack [slashdot.org] customers

Re:NASA should make RC toys (1)

farnsaw (252018) | more than 5 years ago | (#28930071)

They do make them, and sell them, but most people don't want to / cannot pay for $30,000,000+ radio control / semi-autonomous toys. Personally, I would and want to, but cannot afford to do so.

Re:NASA should make RC toys (1)

rafaelolg (1248814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28934179)

If you think the NASA toys would last long imagine how long a Mir toy would last.

Im no scientist (3, Insightful)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928321)

But shouldn't there be a bigass crater with a meteorite that big?

Re:Im no scientist (4, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928339)

Less than you'd think - the biggest damage is not caused by the impact, but by the supersonic shock wave of superheated air preceding the meteor. In a thin atmosphere like Mars, there's a much less pronounced shock wave.

Re:Im no scientist (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28928389)

Well, in the picture there's no crater at all. The thing is sitting on the surface. That's certainly "less than I'd think".

Re:Im no scientist (1)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928433)

Conservation of energy. Less atmosphere, less shock wave; greater velocity and impact force.

Re:Im no scientist (4, Insightful)

Blublu (647618) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928725)

Wait, shouldn't the moon then be ... less ... uh, cratered?

Re:Im no scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28930447)

No, the moon has virtually no atmosphere unlike Mars which has a thin wind, causing erosive effects. The moon is like a museum until something hits it.

Re:Im no scientist (2, Funny)

RockWolf (806901) | more than 5 years ago | (#28934565)

No, the moon has virtually no atmosphere unlike Mars which has a thin wind, causing erosive effects. The moon is like a museum until something hits it.

At which point it continues to be a museum, just with a hole in it.

/~Rockwolf

Re:Im no scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28930049)

NAH. No atmosphere -> no burning and braking of the meteor.
This rock could be a meteorite, but it was either moved or its impact site eroded.

Re:Im no scientist (2, Insightful)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28933665)

Less than you'd think - the biggest damage is not caused by the impact, but by the supersonic shock wave of superheated air preceding the meteor. In a thin atmosphere like Mars, there's a much less pronounced shock wave.

What!?!?! Do you have any technical qualifications to make that statement? Because from a scientific standpoint, it is complete bullshit.

No way. I completely disagree with you. That's like saying that a bullet doesn't hurt you that much, but the shock it drives in the air ahead of it does all the damage. Think about the impedance mismatch between the shocked air and the solid ground... it makes no sense.

While you are correct that there is less of a shock in a thinner atmosphere, you have your damage reasoning completely wrong. The airblast does very little damage to solid rock where as the impact of a stone or metal meteorite will deliver massive damage. You need to consider the relative energy contained in the shock wave versus the kinetic energy of the moving solid object. The solid object driving the shock wins every time... and by a massive margin. That's why it is driving the shock wave in the atmosphere.

If anything, the thinness of the Martian atmosphere means that it would have hit the planet going much faster and remaining much more intact (prior to impact) than it would have on Earth or Venus. Thus, the thinness of the atmosphere would result in increased damage to the surface.

A more likely explanation is that this is a fragment from a cratering event that got blown away from the crater during the impact explosion.

Re:Im no scientist (1)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28994611)

You need to consider the relative energy contained in the shock wave versus the kinetic energy of the moving solid object. The solid object driving the shock wins every time... and by a massive margin. That's why it is driving the shock wave in the atmosphere.

Clearly you have not yet seen the elusive Martian Stork Feather Meteorite.

I accept your apology, sir.

Re:Im no scientist (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28928441)

I know nothing either, but maybe a big meteorite landed some distance away and made a crater and exploded flinging decent sized fragments out in all directions, this then bounced and rolled to a stop without ending up sitting in a crater.

Re:Im no scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28928655)

Besides that, any crater could have withered away millions of years ago, unless there is any indication that the meteorite is fresh.

Re:Im no scientist (3, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928977)

The Opportunity rover is also on a long path towards a crater if I'm not mistaken. That could be from an impact that send other rocks flying out to various areas.

Re:Im no scientist (3, Interesting)

Alioth (221270) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928805)

There probably is one, somewhere. This may be a smaller piece of a much larger impact - I'd expect bits of the meteorite to bounce and land some distance from the main impact site.

Re:Im no scientist (1)

farnsaw (252018) | more than 5 years ago | (#28930139)

If you look carefully at the image on the page linked, just to the left of the rock, you can clearly see the footprints of those who moved it into place.

... now I just have to edit that image... where did I store that NASA website password again?

Re:Im no scientist (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 5 years ago | (#28932351)

That's only if they decide to study it with the Uranium Pew-36 Explosive Space Modulator instead of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer.

History Repeats Itself (1)

sysusr (971503) | more than 5 years ago | (#28934193)

Silly NASA keeps forgetting to put in the blast crater...

Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28928323)

Why no crater? It looks like it floated onto the ground.

I was worried for a second... (3, Funny)

mongoose(!no) (719125) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928329)

I was worried for a second when I misread the title as "Possible Meteorite Imagined By Opportunity Rover".

Re:I was worried for a second... (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 5 years ago | (#28930321)

Yeah, poor little guy doesn't have any humans to crush now that he is self aware. Conversely, Opportunity became self aware and just sees the logic in following NASA's commands... no one ever explores this possibility in sci-fi...

Re:I was worried for a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28930341)

I read it the same way. Yeah NASA built an AI and in fear of it activating skynet they sent it to Mars!

Odd Shaped Rock? (3, Insightful)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928381)

Why the use of this adjective? Most rocks i know of are "odd shaped"

Re:Odd Shaped Rock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28928673)

probably meant odd-shaped for a rock on mars.

Not odd is odd (1)

tizan (925212) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929065)

A rock in the shape of a sphere or a cube or a tetrahedron...now that will be odd to have
such a non odd shaped rock on Mars. Hence a non odd shaped rock is odd and an odd
shaped rock is non odd. Go figure what was meant then

Re:Odd Shaped Rock? (4, Informative)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929165)

Odd==not eroded according to the geology and climate of Mars.

Re:Odd Shaped Rock? (4, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929223)

Why the use of this adjective? Most rocks i know of are "odd shaped"

Because it stood out from the other rocks in the area. It's easy to imagine that they had Slashdot nitpickers in mind when they wrote that. "How could they tell it wasn't just a rock that's been sitting there for ages and ages?"

Re:Odd Shaped Rock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28930399)

The rock is not even shaped, that is to say that it is not bilaterally symmetric, but is odd, that is radially symmetric at 180 degrees.

Either that, or mathematics definitions are useless in the real world.

Re:Odd Shaped Rock? (1)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28933385)

Because it resembles every second one they find.

Re:Odd Shaped Rock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28938273)

Where did you meet those rocks? At a rock club?

all this story made me thing of was (3, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928397)

mmm... block island

salt water taffy, clams, lobster...

http://www.blockislandguide.com/cuisine.html [blockislandguide.com]

sorry, its 11:52 am right now on the east coast

time to go to lunch i think

Meteorite from different planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28928409)

Preliminary analysis shows that the black unindentified object might have come from Uranus.

Lack of crater - explained? (5, Insightful)

burtosis (1124179) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928497)

Perhaps it tumbled into position and the crater(s) are some distance away. It looks highly unusual as it is sitting too high up above the surface indicating that it was not deposited along with the rest of the material which *guessing* is why they were able to identify it as a possible meteorite from such a far away distance. Besides the color presumably not matching the surrounding material.

Re:Lack of crater - explained? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928819)

The parent object "exploded" on impact and this got flung far from the impact point, most likely. I believe they call that phenomenon ejacula... err, ejecta.

Re:Lack of crater - explained? (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929049)

Opportunity is actually on it's way to a large crater. Perhaps it could come from an impact in that area.

Re:Lack of crater - explained? (1)

Froeschle (943753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28936699)

Besides the color presumably not matching the surrounding material.
I would be inclined to agree if it were not a grey-scale image.

Wow! (4, Funny)

hansede (1521535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928587)

Looks like the Monolith was discovered on Mars. For some reason I was expecting it to be found on the Moon . . .

Re:Wow! (1)

ijakings (982830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929183)

Maybe we should import this "Monolith" to earth, it cant make games any worse than its namesake.

Re:Wow! (1)

mtemmerm (1604279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929699)

I had imagined it... taller?

i dont get it (0)

hviniciusg (1481907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928621)

Why so much fuzz about a meteorite.

can some one enligth me please

. . . what if someone is inside . . .? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928683)

Scientists will be testing the rock with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer to get composition measurements and to confirm if indeed it is a meteorite.

. . . if there's some Mars critters in there, they ain't gonna be happy.

. . . before you say "get off my lawn," do you mind if I point my "alpha particle X-ray spectrometer" at your house . . . ?

The REAL news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28928755)

Is that NASA has been covering up fossil evidence that it found on Mars - check out this image of a Martian crinoid [google.com]

SPREAD THE WORD. Life on Mars.

A meteorite? (2, Funny)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928769)

that must have softlanded not to leave the crater!
As an alternate scientific hypotesis I would say the martians just put a rock there to make fun of us!

It's a crashed probe sent from Europa. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928795)

Look, Earthlings don't have a monopoly on flubbing rover landings or making unit conversion screw-ups. Fortunately we still have a monopoly on working Mars rovers! They though that since Mar's atmosphere is so weak they could completely ignore air friction and make the thing out of really light and cheap materials, and that melted hunk of slab is all that's left of their rover.

On the other hand, the Euporans are way ahead of us on exploring Neptune.

anti grav meteorite? (0, Redundant)

supermegadope (990952) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928863)

Did it float down on a parachute? Where the hell is the crater?

Late-Breaking News from the Council (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928877)

Citizens of our peaceful red world stand engorged with pride, as confirmation has come in that the second of the robotic invaders from the blue planet has been immobilized. K'Breel, speaker for the Council of Elders, made the announcement from his flagship:

When we embarked upon this campaign, we had no idea how long it would take. Having buried the first monstrosity up to its wheels in the ashes of legions of the blue planet's soldiers, our Kinetic Bombardment Force has turned its attention to the region infested by the monstrosity's evil twin. Rejoice, podmates, for even the blue planet's own puerile propaganda illustrates that their second robotic monstrosity now stands paralyzed with fear!

When a journalist suggested that the blue planet's robot had merely paused to inspect a meteorite, K'Breel had the traitor's gelsacs stapled to the heat shield of his flagship, and initiated re-entry procedures.

Re:Late-Breaking News from the Council (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28930871)

For the love of Jeebus, please Martian journalists, please learn to stop contradicting K'Breel to his face!

Meteorite From Earth (4, Funny)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928893)

It would be humorous if the meteorite on Mars was of Earth origin (blow back from Earth getting hit by something). We found evidence of life on Mars! Err, it's from Earth.

mars rover blog (4, Interesting)

Frogg (27033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28928931)

here's a link to a blog by someone on the mars rover team:- Mars and Me [blogspot.com]

...fascinating stuff!! :)

Re:mars rover blog (1)

j0se_p0inter0 (631566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929347)

Thanks for the link! Some good stuff on there,

glacial deposit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28928985)

Given that there is no sort of crater for something that large, i would be pushing the glacier deposit theory.

Of course since the edges of the rock aren't worn at all, I guess you could say that it was a meteor that hit and melted a glacier...that would explain the lack of a crater.

Turns out... (1)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929073)

Turns out that Opputunity spotted this metorite in space. Heading towards earth. That is all.

mi80s 3, Troll) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28929335)

Join GNNA (GAY 486/66 with 8 battled in court, another folder. 20 achieve any of the Conducted at MIT 1. Therefore there for election, I demise. You don't

pedant = 1 (0, Redundant)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929423)

Rover captured image of possible meteorite. /hates passive voice //won't read your whiny ass reply, save your time

Re:pedant = 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28929787)

Entirely valid here - creates emphasises that the meteorite here is what's important (as it's unusual) compared to the imaging (which the Rover does every day). /me hates people try to enforce rules of thumb as though they were amendments to the constitution.

Re:pedant = 1 (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28932399)

Your proposed subject line is inferior. Doesn't matter if you won't read anything that might challenge your monopoly on whining. Your irrational hatred of passive voice is still foolish and wrong. That is not what your 4th grade writing teacher was trying to tell you.

Also, and go ahead and call me a pedant, but pedantry does not mean criticizing the style of something that is grammatically, syntactically, and semantically correct.

7th meteorite found by rovers (2, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28929957)

The first one found in 2005 made big news. Since then there have been seven [astronomynow.com] more suspected.

Where's the crater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28930285)

Strange. The meteroite is just residing onto the flat terrain.

Where's the crater it should have created on impact?

Whatever units... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28938755)

These converted values in feet are really useless... it just adds to confusion, didn't you learn already? Probes were lost because of this insane resistance to assume metric as the default. Who does still bothers to know a value in this ancient unit anyway!!!

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