NASA‘s Curiosity rover is continually sending information for the ground team that operates it. The latest data send by the probe has been analyzed and published on the space agency’s official website. Curiosity has captured a rather peculiar hollow in the Western Butte on the Red Planet. The spacecraft has stopped to investigate the weird formation as it came down of the pit dubbed Gale.
In the images from Mars, it looks like someone dragged a thick and straight line with some kind of dark felt marker on the southeastern region of the butte. From the ground, it is similar to a shallow gutter filled with dark sand. Scientists have no idea whatsoever what produced this pattern, or why it is located it that particular place.
“In the images from orbit, it looks like someone drew a thick straight line with a dark felt marker on the southeastern side of the butte,” Curiosity team member Melissa Rice, a planetary geologist at Western Washington University, noted in a mission update this week titled ‘A Strange Trough on Western Butte.’
The Mars rover has been programmed to capture more photos of the region for researchers to analyze.
“We don’t know what created this feature, or why it happens to be right here,” Rice wrote, “so it’s worth stopping for a closer look.”
According to NASA, Curiosity drove downhill over the weekend, and stood at the top of the hollow, which has been dubbed ‘Balgy.’ The name is a reference to the scenic Falls of Balgy in Scotland. The team has begun giving names inspired from Scotland to some martial setting features in this particular area.
Mars is abundant in weird and interesting formations, and the trough is another characteristic researchers now have to analyze as they understand more about the fascinating geology of the Red Planet.
The official post on NASA’s website says: “The main event in today’s plan (Sols 2645-2646) is a large Mastcam stereo mosaic covering both sides of Balgy Trough. We’ll also take a smaller Mastcam stereo mosaic of laminated rocks nearby called “Baljaffray,” and grab a quick set of MAHLI and APXS observations on the bedrock target “Kennedys Pass.” After that, Curiosity will finish descending from Western Butte and will head south.”