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back to article NASA melts mysterious 'metal Martian flower' myth

On Friday the internet was all a-flutter over a mysterious metallic-looking object that the Mars rover Curiosity snapped last month, but an analysis by NASA claims to have identified how it came to be. Curiosity snapped the picture in January using its MastCam camera mounted on the top of the rover, but the image only came to …

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Alien

"this could always be cunning PR plan to hide the fact that there are Martians on the surface with whom NASA has done a deal to keep quiet about"

Please don't encourage them, they are nutty enough on their own!

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Who?

The Martians or NASA?

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Re: Who?

amanfrommars1, obviously.

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Re: Who?

... it's clearly the handle of a hatch ...

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But still they come

OOOOOOOlah!!

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Re: But still they come

Richard Burton's voice-over on that is fabutastic.

I was delighted to find it on Spotify a couple of months ago, and spent a very happy afternoon listening to it at work.

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Happy

The chances of anything coming from mars.....

Are a million to one he said!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The chances of anything coming from mars.....

Still might be better than Horse meat!

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Re: The chances of anything coming from mars.....

Yeah, but the chance of winning the lottery is significantly worse than 1 million to one (and still they played...), and yet every other week you hear about someone winning it! Time to panic!!!

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Re: The chances of anything coming from mars.....

Oh my! Are they EXACTLY a million to one???

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The chances of anything coming from mars.....

Horse meat is delicious.

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Go

Re: @Pat 4

which we all know, million-to-one chances usually pop up nine times out of ten.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The chances of anything coming from mars.....

Difference being it's a 1 million to 1 chance of you winning, with several million people playing it's nearly garunteed one will win the lottery.

With an alien, it's a 1 in a million chance one will make it to earth, if they exist at all.

Effectively somebody winning the lottery is a million to a million.

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Re: The chances of anything coming from mars.....

> Horse meat is delicious.

But you need to add a martian garlic sauce.

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Black Helicopters

How does one compare the complexity of a given explanation, though? Surely I could claim that the conspiracy explanation was simpler than the idea that NASA had gone to the hassle of sending a robot all the way to Mars.

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Holmes

I think NASA wants the conspiricy nutters

Based upon the fact that the PDF they put out to explain this feature doesn't contain a single image comparable with the shot from mars, whilst a google image search for 'ventifact' returns a shitload of images that make the martian one look lame.

Maybe there's more funding for exploring mysterious places than boring ones.

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Re: I think NASA wants the conspiricy nutters

Get out of here Stalker!

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Holmes

But as is so often the case in life, the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one

Otherwise known as Occam's Razor. My favourite aphorism.

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Trollface

"...the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one"

So, it's in the Arizona desert after all?

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Black Helicopters

Oh, come on NASA!!

Why don't you just admit that somebody left behind a piece of Apollo 11 when they refurbished the Apollo soundstage for the Curiousity mission!! :)

(Or maybe that was my tinfoil hat. It has gone missing lately, though I expect that it was taken by the race of super-intelligent monkeys left over from army biological warfare experiments.)

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Black Helicopters

Re: Oh, come on NASA!!

OMFG! They faked the moon landings on Mars?!!???

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Anonymous Coward

Metal Martian Flower

I saw them play at the Fillmore back in '68.

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Alien

I, for one,

welcome our new Ventifact overlords.

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Alien

Martian Flower eh?

Someone's been hard into the "Altered Carbon" series I think.

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Not wanting to sound like one of the "nuts", but this looks a hell of a lot more interesting than what they are currently doing. Maybe it's me, but....they scooped up some dirt, did an analysis, and had a historic breakthrough (their words, not mine).

They recently drilled a hole in a rock......and got excited.

I'm not a scientist, know nothing about why they pick one (what seems to be boring) thing to focus on while ignoring other more interesting finds, but.... they are there to study things like this. At least try and analyze what the different types of rocks are, or point the camera at it for longer periods of time to determine how large it is....shed a little more light than guessing what it probably is while pointing at a hole saying "Wow!, look at this hole!"

It's our tax dollars, and I'm not saying since we paid for it we get to drive, but a little more time looking at curiosities might make us feel better after the tax man has come and gone.

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Keep it in the news

There is certainly some sense in throwing these curiosities to the press to keep the program in the news and thereby prop up funding.

No doubt there is much going on behind the scenes that fails to interest the common man and therefore does not get into the media.

These formations happen when one type of rock (typically igneous) exists in another type of rock. On earth it is common to find these where igneous (volcanic) rock is forced through sedimentary rocks.

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So vape it then...

If it really is just a bit of rock...

Don't buy it myself, at least go for a closer sniff... might save drilling holes, you never know.

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It's a million to one chance

But they might just walk.

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It's obvious.

It is blatantly the tap of a stop-cock. This is proof that there was once semi-intelligent life, similar to human kind, on Mars. They've even put it in what seems to be a particularly daft place, which just re-enforces that notion that we may be descended from Martians.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's obvious.

which just re-enforces that notion that we may be descended from Martians.

Probably the best explanation of UK plumbing ever written..

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Re: It's obvious.

It would explain why there is no surface water: the tap is off and the plug has been pulled out. The rover has found the tap, now where is the plughole?

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Anonymous Coward

Ummmm....why not just drive over an analyse it?

After all, what was the point of sending a super high-tech rover to Mars if not to look at interesting and unusual things?

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Re: Ummmm....why not just drive over an analyse it?

It was found on an old photo, so they may be some distance away by now. They reckon they know what caused it, so it's not particularly interesting or unusual. They may have decided that it's not worth spending limited rover lifespan in going back to look at it.

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Alien

Re: Ummmm....why not just drive over an analyse it?

It's all very convenient.

Whistling past the graveyard, moi?

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Alien

Or lightning strike

http://www.weirdtwist.com/2012/11/2-glass-sculptures-from-lightning.html

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Unhappy

Some people (NASA) just have no soul.

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WTF

... and some people apparently have no sense of humour!

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Mushroom

We know it's a rock NASA, that's not the questio

The question is what kind and what is it's composition. Anything this different from the surrounding landscape with it's apparent color brilliance makes one wonder if it's a new mineral /gemstone and what kind.

If this is a "gemstone" it could have a mineral composition that is different than any on earth. If it doesn't then we still learn something, how much Mars has a mineral composition like earth. They have a laser for this kind of thing, why avoid it's use here? Either way NASAs' cut and run behavior has become an aggravating exerciser in avoidance of opportunities for possible new discoveries.

If NASA is going to "proclaim" this shiny rock is nothing to look at and run the other way rather than "Test" it, then I have to ask if NASA practices science anymore.

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Alien

There's actually a good succinct Wikipedia page on ventifacts but it's good to see ER keeping up the fight against Wikipedia by linking to an weird amateur page on Long Island ventifcacts complete with a snap of the teenage web page "designer" doing the double thumbs up. The artists impression of a woolly mammoth pasted on an out of focus pic of some ice and glacial moraine adds to the effect.

Right On!

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Holmes

"using its MastCam camera mounted on the top of the rover!

No shit Sherlock!

Come on guys, this is a tech website, not the BBC. Where else would its MastCam be other than on the top?

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Trollface

Re: "using its MastCam camera mounted on the top of the rover!

Held by a seriously overweight, sweating alien in a garishly-colored sandbathing suit that reveals too much of his anatomy in a horrible, horrible way, evidently.

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Alien

I'm no nutter (well, maybe) but...

I get the impression that Nasa would say anything rather than give it a poke. If that rover came across some golden arches with a drive-thru (US English), Nasa would probably come up with some convoluted story rather than admit it was a McDonalds. Here we've got a planet with pretty much piss all atmosphere and suddenly it's able to polish hard objects better than a £5000 an hour hooker. My arse.

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Stop

Re: I'm no nutter (well, maybe) but...

im no geologist but im guessing this happens over periods of hundreds of thousands of years.

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Re: I'm no nutter (well, maybe) but...

> hundreds of thousands of years

That's some seriously good hooker.

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Re: I'm no nutter (well, maybe) but...

'im no geologist but im guessing this happens over periods of hundreds of thousands of years.'

Yep. or as a geologist would say 'almost instantly'.

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Anonymous Coward

"some more excitable space enthusiasts saw something of possible extraterrestrial origin"

I should think that they are right.

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Anonymous Coward

"...a load of wind doing its abrasive duty."

Why, oh why, does that evoke a distasteful image of my ex-wife?

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