IANSJan 06, 2018 16:59:10 IST
NASA's Curiosity Rover have revealed impressions that look "remarkably similar" to trace fossils on Mars, scientists, including one of Indian-origin has claimed.
The first new batch of 2018 photographs taken Curiosity Lens Imager (MAHLI) could be similar to Ordovician trace fossils. "They look remarkably similar to Ordovician trace fossils I have studied and photographed here on Earth," Barry DiGregorio, research fellow at the University of Buckingham, was quoted as saying to the express.co.uk.
"If not trace fossils, what other geological explanations will NASA come up with?" he added. MAHLI is a focusable colour camera mounted on the rover's arm. The images were first captured in black and white and the features are very small and only a millimetre or two (0.04 to 0.08 inches) in width, with the longest of the features stretching to roughly 5 millimeters (0.2 inches).
"So, they are tiny," said Ashwin Vasavada, the Curiosity project scientist at NASA. "These were unique enough, given the fact that we didn't know they were there... (that) we thought we should go back," Vasavada said, noting that NASA has now rolled the Curiosity back to further examine them.
While NASA doesn't rule out trace fossils on Mars, "we certainly won't jump to that as our first interpretation", he said. Close-up looks at these features show them to be angular in multiple dimensions, suggesting that they are related to crystals in the rock and even crystal moulds that are found here on Earth, Vasavada said.
"If we see more of them... then we begin to say that this is an important process that's going on at Vera Rubin Ridge", he added. Meanwhile, along with new MAHLI imagery, Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) and its Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) are also inspecting the features for clues as to their nature, the report said.
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