- BBC News World
With its striking rectangular shape, and smooth cut contrasting with the jagged rocks that surround it, the geological formation on Mars has raised questions for days.
Some have found it shaped like a “door” and others have theorized that an alien civilization may have created a “passage” to the nearby planet.
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But what the image taken by the Curiosity rover, which has been sending information from Earth since 2012, shows, has a more logical explanation.
According to NASA, it’s a matter of perspective.
The origin and interpretation
On May 7, the US Space Agency released another image of the terrain of Mars taken by the Curiosity Mast camera.
NASA identified the image as part of a “Sol 3466” series that was posted as multiple images on the Mars Exploration Program website.
Since the posting, some people on the internet have started theorizing about its look and feel as a ‘door’ or ‘corridor’.
But this particular image is just one image in a series that, when viewed in its full composition, changes the perspective of its size and shape.
“It’s a very magnified shot of a small fracture in a rock,” NASA told BBC Mundo.
In the image below, you can see the formation consisting of the entire 3466 series of images and the size of the rift in this rock from Jezero crater, which has been explored by the Curiosity rover in recent weeks.
JPL scientists noted the small size of the slit, about 30 cm wide and 45 cm long.
“There are line fractures all over this bump, and this is a place where many line fractures intersect,” NASA explains.
Many experts have spoken about this in recent days.
Neil Hodgson, a British geologist who has studied Martian terrain, says that although this image is “intriguing”, it is not mysterious.
“In short, I feel like natural erosion,” he told Live Science.
The strata, the layers of rock that you see in pictures like this, are layers of silt and sand.
“They were deposited about 4 billion years ago in sedimentary conditions, perhaps in a river or on windswept sand dunes,” Hodgson said.
Fractures in the ground can naturally form such cracks. In this case, the vertical fracture intersects with seams or seams to form such pieces.
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