NASA’s Opportunity rover is currently looking at a rock the size of a watermelon. The NASA release says it’s a large watermelon, but we’re not sure what standard they’re using, so New Frontier News isn’t making that comparison. You never know where you stand with watermelons.
The other day New Frontier News went to the grocery store for an advertised special on “Large, seedless watermelons” that turned out to be the size of softballs. Man, that makes New Frontier News mad. Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, the rock.
You’re probably asking “So what is the big deal?” If so, you have a hell of a lot of nerve. Would NASA issue a press release because they found a boring, ordinary rock? No. Would a respected astrojournalistic site like New Frontier News run a story on it if it were a boring, ordinary rock? Hell no!
So what makes it so interesting? Well, it’s a meteorite, and it’s bigger than any other known meteorite on Mars. Right after we typed that last sentence, it occurred to us that we’re talking about an entire planet here, and that the human race has probably explored a very tiny fraction of one per cent of its surface. So we’re going to be finding things that are bigger/smaller in interesting ways than other things we’ve found for frigging centuries.
However, what is interesting about the size of this thing is that calculations show it’s too massive to have hit the ground without disintegrating unless Mars had a much thicker atmosphere than it does now. In other words, the atmosphere on Mars used to be denser.
The Opportunity and Spirit rovers landed on Mars in January of 2004 for missions that were originally planned to last for three months. Years later, and they’re still teaching us things. All kidding aside, New Frontier News thinks this is very cool.
For more information on the rovers, please bother NASA.