While browsing the first new batch of 2018 photos taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager of the Curiosity rover (MAHLI), researcher Barry DiGregorio speculated the discovery of traces of fossils on Mars by the robot Red Planet. DiGregorio is a researcher at the Buckingham Astrobiology Center in the UK and author of the non-fiction books “Mars: The Living Planet” and “The Microbes of Mars”.
Measuring a fewmillimeters in length, these stick-like angular featureswere visible in thefirstbatchofphotographstakenthisyearusingtherover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) instrument. Vasavadapointed out thattheproportionalcharacteristicsof “fossils” are verysmall, probablyoftheorderof a millimeter or two in width, withthelongestcharacteristicsextendingto about 5 millimeters.
“They look remarkably like the fossils of the Ordovician I studied and photographed here on Earth” […] “If they are not fossils, what other geological explanations will NASA find?”, To declare astrobiologist and author Barry DiGregorio.
Eagertogettothebottomofthemystery, theCuriosityteam sent the robot backtotake a closerlook.
“This site was so interesting that we went back to where the rover was parked for this plan,” said Christopher Edwards, Curiosity team member. “In the workspace in front of the rover, we have very specific targets that warrant additional interrogations.”
Althoughitisnotyetknownwhetherthesomysterioussmall structures are reallythefossilremainsofsomeexoticspecies, NASAscientists are notreadytoexcludethispossibility.
“If we see more … then we start saying that this is an important process happening in the Vera Rubin Ridge Martian Zone,” said Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada.
Featured Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS