The Mars Curiosity rover has found an intricate mineral flower

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has found a diagenetic crystal cluster named the Blackthorn Salt, which strikingly resembles a flower.

@AdamHuntTT
Published Tue, Mar 1 2022 4:02 AM CST   |   Updated Fri, Mar 25 2022 2:05 AM CDT

The Mars Curiosity rover found the flower on February 25th, 2022, or Sol 3397 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 10:59:54 UTC.

The rover team confirmed that the flower-like object seen in the photo is a mineral formation formed from minerals precipitating from water. These kinds of structures are known as diagenetic crystal clusters, which Curiosity has spotted in the past. This latest example has been named the "Blackthorn Salt."

The image is a composite image made from two to eight images taken by the Curiosity rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm. The rover sometimes performs a focus merge on images like this one, where images of a subject that has been photographed at different focus positions are merged to bring all of its features into focus.

Performing the merge on Mars also reduces the amount of data that has to be transmitted back to Earth. Each focus merge turns up to eight images into two, a color image with the best focus and a black-and-white image that scientists can use to estimate the focus position of different elements.

The Mars Curiosity rover has found an intricate mineral flower 01 | TweakTown.com
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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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