When it comes to US missions to Mars in the last period reference is often made to Mars 2020 which includes NASA Perseverance and NASA Ingenuity (respectively the rover and the drone). But among the still functioning devices on the surface one cannot forget about NASA CuriosityThe rover from the MSL mission launched on November 26, 2011 and landed on the Red Planet in August 2012.
It was a milestone for the exploration Of Mars considering that it is far more complex than the previous ones rover (and with a higher mass, thus having to think of a landing system like the “sky-crane”). The technical and technological base as well as the problems found during use have been useful in improving Perseverance which is, in fact, related to Curiosity. A mission that has lasted for 3731 sols in a hostile environment like the Martian one and that doesn’t seem to want to cease to amaze. In recent weeks the rover also found a new iron meteorite on the surface of Mars. And it is not the first time.
NASA Curiosity has found a new iron meteorite on Mars
During his journey, which still sees him busy on Mount Sharp (to look for new areas to analyze using the scientific instruments on board), a decidedly particular rock was framed by the cameras. It is a iron meteorite of good size which is under study. An important element both for understanding what is outside the Red Planet and as the planet itself.
In particular the scientists which follow the NASA Curiosity rover they called this iron meteorite (composed of iron and nickel) Cocoa. Its dimensions are approximately 30 cm and the rover had to approach and make the most of the Mastcam NAC (Narrow Angle Camera) with a focal length of 100 mm to carry out the first analyzes and be certain that it was actually a meteorite and not by one “simple” rock.
As specified, this is not the first meteorite discovered during the MSL mission. As of November 2016, one named had been found “Egg Rock”, due to its rounded shape, always of the ferrous type (analysis confirmed with the ChemCam). The dimensions in this case were those of a golf ball.
In July 2014 instead NASA Curiosity he had discovered his first martian meteorite (although Spirit and Opportunity had discovered others in the past). Called “Lebanon”, also in this case it is a meteorite of the iron type. This meteorite is the largest discovered having dimensions of about 2 meters at the ends. The fact that iron rather than stony meteorites are found could be given by the resistance of the latter to the passage of time and meteorological conditions. Currently the rover it covered 29.47 km and, despite the wheel problems, the end of the mission still seems far away.