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Blueberries Found on Mars

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Michael Watts

The question of whether there has ever been life on Mars has bewildered scientists for years.  However, a recent discovery may prove to be the answer to this agonizing question.  NASA’s Opportunity rover has made a discovery that geologists find to be baffling and exciting. Opportunity, which has been on the Red Planer since 2004, has found an outcrop of tiny spheres up to about three millimeters in diameter.

“This is one of the most extraordinary pictures from the whole mission,” said Opportunity’s head investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca. “We never have seen such a dense accumulation of spherules in a rock outcrop on Mars.”

At first, the researchers believed the objects looked similar to iron-rich spheres dubbing them as “blueberries” found near the Opportunity landing site. The so-called Martian blueberries are produced when minerals separate from water and become hard chunks inside sedimentary blocks, making them part of the evidence that Mars at one time, was wet.

Nevertheless, closer observations shown the new discoveries are “different in concentration. They are different in structure. They are different in composition. They are different in distribution,” Sqyres said. “It’s going to take a while to work this out, so the thing to do now is keep an open mind and let the rocks do the talking.”

Opportunity discovered the spheres at an outcrop named Kirkwood, in the Cape York segment of Endeavor Crater’s western rim. Although Opportunity’s main mission was finished more than eight years ago, the rover has persisted on “bonus” missions since.

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