An image recorded by the US Space Agency (NASA) Curiosity probe on Mars showed an unusual formation that aroused the curiosity of Reddit users.
A topic on the social network questioned whether that would be a “door” that would prove the existence of extraterrestrial life on the neighboring planet. The similarity generated discussions on the network, but soon the possibility was discarded.
In a conversation with the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Imperial College London professor Sanjeev Gupta, who has worked with the mission that took Curiosity to Mars, explained that the “door” seen in the image is nothing more than a geological process. .
“That crack is a fracture. Fractures like this are plentiful on Mars and Earth,” he explained. He analyzed the image at the request of the newspaper and certified that this is just a “normal geological process” in the region.
The expert also said that perspective must be considered in this case and the size of the “door” was highlighted by Curiosity researchers when the image was released.
“They highlighted how small the fractures were, between 30 and 45 centimeters,” he said.
The space robot landed in Gale Crater in August 2012 with a mission to determine whether the region harbored microbial life.
Since then, it has traveled more than 27.14 km on Mars. Curiosity found that Gale actually hosted a potentially habitable lake and stream system in the distant past.
Since September 2014, Curiosity has been climbing a mountain called Mount Sharp. In practice, the rover is analyzing the rock layers, looking for clues about the climate transition that took place on Mars from a hot, humid planet to the frigid desert it is today.
“The study seems to have worked,” Good said. The mission team recently began capturing wheel inspection images every 3,300 feet, the equivalent of 1,000 meters, of terrain traveled, instead of every 1,600 feet (500 m) as was the norm. previous.