NASA’s Curiosity Rover has created what looks like the picture of a mineral formation in the shape of a flower. The formation resembles a coral or sea anemone in the picture, but it is just a lifeless structure.

Abigail Fraeman, a Deputy Scientist for the Curiosity Mars Rover project tweeted the same picture with a United States penny juxtaposed on it approximately to scale to help people understand the actual size of the structure. The Lincoln Penny photoshopped onto the image by the scientist is actually from an image of a penny that is part of a camera calibration target on the Curiosity Rover.

According to Space.com, the flower-like rock has been named Blackthorn Salt and it is a diagenetic feature, which means that it is made from mineral deposits left behind by an ancient water body.

Images of the structure were merged on February 25, after they were captured near Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp), which is a martian mountain that forms the central peak within the Gale crater in March. The Curiosity Rover was designed to explore this crater and has been doing so since it landed on Mars in August 2012.

The image was created by merging between two and eight images previously taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) which is located on a turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. Focus merging was used to merge the multiple images in such a way as to ensure that as many of the features into focus.

Did NASA’s Curiosity Rover just share a selfie from Mars?


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