The Mars has been explored by NASA’s Opportunity rover for almost 14 years. In this long period of time, the rover discovered a lot of interesting and surprising things. Recently, Opportunity did it again and discovered stone stripes on Mars, which are some ground textures that look similar to some textures that can be found on Earth.
How did the Opportunity rover make this discovery?
Opportunity rover started recently to research Perseverance Valley, a region which descends from the western edge of the Endeavour Crater.
“Perseverance Valley is a special place, like having a new mission again after all these years,” said Ray Arvidson of Washington University and the Deputy Investigator for the Opportunity mission.
Excited by the recent Opportunity’s discovery, Arvidson explained that as the rover was investigating the Perseverance Valley, something looking like stone stripes appeared.
Stone stripes are very distinctive characteristics in rocks which were formed on Earth upon the freezing and thawing of the soil in repeated cycles.
The Mars’s mystery deepens even more with this new discovery
On some inclinations in the Perseverance Valley, there have been found some gravel and sand particles taking the forms of narrow rows that alternate with wider rows.
The Mars’s stone stripes origin remains unknown but researchers started to theorize in this regard.
After further analyzing some clues, some of the researchers stated that such formations could’ve only appeared under the action of ice, wind, and/or water.
On the other hand, researchers have previously observed that Mars is tilting once every several hundreds of thousands of years. During this event, the frozen water at Mars’s poles vaporizes fast and falls down back to Mars as snow or frost which accumulates around the planet’s Equator.
However, besides theories, the researchers have nothing concrete.
Robert Sullivan, an Opportunity science team member, admitted that they don’t know what the stone stripes on Mars really are and that scientists need to gather more data to figure this out.