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Alien Artifact on Mars? Facts About the Bizarre 'Egg Rock'

Nov 04, 2016 05:45 AM EDT

NASA's Curiosity rover just came across a bizarre looking object in the Red Planet. According to Inverse, the strange object is a small metallic meteorite that scientists are referring to as the "Egg Rock."

Curiosity's ChemCam's Remote Micro-Imager took the photo on Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons), the site that helped scientists discover the presence of liquid water on the surface of Mars.

Below are some facts about the alien object:

According to the scientists at Arizona State University who analyzed the images, the meteorite consists of nickel-iron.

CNET notes that it is estimated to be no larger than 1.6 inches (40 millimeters) wide, very miniscule when compared to the Gancedo meteorite, a 68,000-pound meteorite extracted from a field in Argentina in September.

"Egg Rock" is not the first meteorite found by Curiosity. It probably came from the core of a structure in the asteroid belt. In 2014, Curiosity has discovered its first meteorite on the Red Planet. It was tagged as "Lebanon," an iron-made meteorite that is nearly 7 feet (2 meters) wide and made of iron.

Unlike most meteorites, "Egg Rock" has several deep grooves and a fine and smooth surface, as if someone has buffed it. Science Alert said this only suggests that it became molten as it entered Mars' atmosphere and hardened further as it reached the planet's surface.

Gizmodo notes that meteorites can pass through Mars' atmosphere easily, since it is only about 1% as dense as Earth's. It can exist up to millions of years on the Red Planet, because it is free from the oxidizing and weathering effects of moisture and oxygen.

The discovery of the "Egg Rock" gives scientists the opportunity to study and explore materials that cannot be found in our Earth. Such would lead to better understanding the planet formation, composition of the solar system and perhaps the entire universe.

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