The photos taken by Curiosity’s mast camera and ChemCam have led to speculation about whether the strange structures captured in the images could be the skeletal remains of a prehistoric fish-like animal on Mars.
The car-sized Curiosity rover has been cruising Mars’ Gale Crater for over a decade now, traversing the unforgiving conditions of the Red Planet in hopes of finding signs of life in what is believed to be a dried-out, 3.5 billion-year-old Martian lake.
Earlier this year, the illustrious rover found rippled rocks — the clearest evidence yet of ancient water waves on Mars. But of all the weird geology the Curiosity might’ve uncovered so far, its recent find could be the strangest, perhaps the most exciting, of them all.
Looking for traces of extraterrestrial life has mostly been limited to microbial life. However, images of the strange structures the rover sent back have given scientists bigger fish to fry.
The pictures clicked by Curiosity’s mast camera and ChemCam on Martian day Sol 3786, or April 1, show spikes protruding from a rock lying at the base of the 154 km-long Gale Crater.
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“In 20 years of studying Mars, that’s the most bizarre rock I have ever seen. I cannot wait to have a microscopic image of this one,” tweeted Astrobiologist Nathalie A Cabrol.
As part of the exploration of the Red Planet, four humans will live in a habitat that will simulate conditions on Mars.