NASA’s Curiosity rover sees doorway on Mars
Last week, NASA’s Curiosity rover photographed the Lovecraft craft feature on the surface of Mars: a rectangular and shadowy exposed part of the planet’s exposed rock that appears to be passing underground to Mars.
The image was captured on May 7 by Curiosity Rover’s Mastcam while climbing Mount Sharp. The granular black-and-white image may contain conspirators on the moon, but it certainly does not represent the entrance to an underground alien society.
Ashwin Vasavada told Gizmodo in a phone call today, “This is just a place between two fractures of a rock. Vasavada, a project scientist at the Mars Science Laboratory, said the creation was definitely not a gateway to the level of video game dungeons. “We’re traversing an area made up of ancient sand dunes,” he said. These piles of sand were cemented together over time, creating sandstones. Curiosity is now moving forward.
Vasavada told us that the fracture is only one foot high and that once these piles of sand were collected, they were buried due to the sand sliding on the surface of Mars and over time they were buried. During this process, the sandstone was under different pressures, which caused it to buckle and fracture in different places. “The fractures we see in this area are usually vertical,” he explained. This particular door-shaped fracture is likely to form in one of two ways.
“I think what we have is either two vertical fractures, where the middle piece has been removed, or one vertical fracture and the blocks are slightly separated,” Vasavada said.
The Curiosity rover has been orbiting Mars since landing in Gail Crater in August 2012. The rover has since covered a distance of 17.3 miles (27.84 kilometers) or ‘Souls’ in 3,472 Mars days. When Curiosity does not collect rock and soil samples, it takes photos using its panoramic mastcam (mast + camera).
This photo of Curiosity is another example of your tendency to look familiar in unfamiliar landscapes. In the past, people thought they’ve seen all sorts of extraterrestrial things on Mars, including squirrels and spiders.