NASA’s Curiosity rover has taken an intriguing image of a small Martian rock that looks strikingly like a fossilized book on the surface of the Red Planet.
The rover captured the image of the peculiar book-shaped rock on April 15, the 3,800th Martian day, or sol, of its mission, using the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the end of its robotic arm, according to POT (opens in a new tab). The red rock looks like two halves of an open book with a single page that has frozen halfway through being turned.
The rock may look a bit like a book, but it is much smaller. The fossilized page turner is actually only 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) across, according to NASA.
Related: NASA’s Perseverance rover loses its ‘pet rock’ for hitchhiking after more than a year together on Mars
“Unusually shaped rocks are common on Mars,” the NASA representatives wrote. The oddly shaped rocks are made of minerals that were left behind by ancient water. These minerals would once have been buried under softer sediments, but billions of years of wind erosion have washed away everything else, they added.
In February 2022, Curiosity saw a branched “mineral flower” that was about 0.4 inches (1 cm) wide. And on February 16, the rover photographed rocks imprinted with small ripples or ripples, left behind an ancient lake.
Scientists have also seen larger-scale forms carved by ancient water on the Red Planet, including a large rock formation that looks like the face of a teddy bear and another that is a dead ringer for the curly haired muppet.
Curiosity has also captured some images that are more impressive than puzzling. On February 2, the rover captured the first clear images of “sunbeams” on MarsThey occur when sunlight shines through gaps in the clouds during sunsets or sunrises when the sun is below the horizon.