Mars rover's peek at rock turns up a curiosity

Mars rover's peek at rock turns up a curiosity

Credit: Getty Images

MARS - SEPTEMBER 19: In this handout from NASA/JPL-Caltech, a rock that is approximately 10 inches (25 centimeters) tall and 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide sits in front of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity September 19, 2012 on Mars. According to NASA, the rover team chose the rock, that has been named Jake Matijevic, as the first taget to be examined by Curiosity's contact instruments. Jake Matijevic was a surface operations systems chief engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory Project and the Curiosity rover. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech via Getty Images)

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KMOV.com

Posted on October 12, 2012 at 9:47 AM

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The first rock nuzzled by NASA's Mars Curiosity rover is turning out to be a bit more unusual than scientists thought it would be.

   Curiosity used its robot arm to touch at a football-sized pyramid-shaped rock for the first time two weeks ago. It also shot the rock dozens of times with a laser.

   The results surprised scientists. They said Thursday that it is not like other rocks seen on Mars. It has more sodium and potassium.

   Scientist Edward Stolper (STOHL'-pur) said the rock is more like rare volcanic rocks seen on Earth in places like Hawaii. Those rocks are formed under high pressure, deep underground and once contained water.

   Scientists don't know how old the Martian rock is.
 

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