While nearing the end of the marathon study on the Martian surface, NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover spotted some peculiar rocks and minerals. The hill overlooking a site known as “Marathon Valley” is the place where the rocks have been found. Marathon Valley has been named so because the Opportunity will reach there after travelling 26.2 miles, the marathon distance, on Mars.
Opportunity Project Scientist Matt Golombek, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory mentioned “We drove to the edge of a plateau to look down in the valley, and we found these big, dark-gray blocks along the ridgeline. We checked one and found its composition is different from any ever measured before on Mars. So, whoa! Let’s study these more before moving on.”
According to the NASA officials, the peculiar Martian rocks have been found to be rich in silicon and aluminum and are different from any other rock found by Opportunity, or its twin rover Spirit, during the research. Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars a few weeks apart in January 2004 with the aim of searching past water activity on Mars. The golf-cart-size rovers are known for their longevity as their nominal missions were planned for three months but Spirit explored Mars till 2010 and Opportunity is still carrying on its research work.