The Curiosity rover, sent by the US space agency NASA to explore the Gale crater of Mars, has found a strange rock formation on the Red Planet. The high-resolution image sent to the base station by the rover shows the strange, twisting structures protruding from the Martian surface.
The SETI Institute, a nonprofit research organization focused on the search for life in the universe, highlighted the image in a tweet last week, calling it a “cool rock.” NASA also posted the raw image on its website.
“The spikes are most likely the cemented fillings of ancient fractures in a sedimentary rock. The rest of the rock was made of softer material and has eroded away,” the institute said in a tweet, explaining the shapes.
#PPOD: Here’s another cool rock at Gale Crater on Mars! The spikes are most likely the cemented fillings of ancient fractures in a sedimentary rock. The rest of the rock was made of softer material and had eroded away. † @NASA@NASAJPL@Caltech#MSSS fredk, acquired on May 17. pic.twitter.com/RGfjmRBfI7
– The SETI Institute (@SETIInstitute) May 26, 2022
Such constructions are also found in some places on Earth. Geologists believe that these tall and thin towers are formed by erosion. Hoodoos are structures where hard rock sits on top of soft rock.
Hoodoos are called by many names, such as fairy chimneys, earth pyramids and tent rocks. They can be found in Utah’s Bryce Canyon, the Colorado Plateau, or Tokushima Prefecture in Japan.
NASA is interested in such discoveries, which are expected to reveal more information about the history of Gale Crater.
The photo of the “spikes” was taken by a camera aboard the Curiosity rover on May 15, according to Vice News, just a week ago, it found an unusual structure in the rock that looked like a neatly carved doorway nestled on the Red Planet. Many internet users were amazed at the photo, claiming that it was a hidden alien entrance.
The image was captured on May 7 by the Curiosity rover on a geologic feature known as Greenheugh Pediment and shared on Reddit by NASA.
Media channels such as Independent said the strange rock formation could be the product of a natural stress fracture caused by a seismicity.
NASA’s Curiosity rover has been in the Gale Crater on Mars since November 2011.