By NANCY ATKINSON, UNIVERSE TODAY FEBRUARY 27, 2022
The Curiosity rover took a picture of something pretty enticing this week on the surface of Mars. While the object in question looks like a tiny little flower or maybe even some type of organic feature, the rover team confirmed this object is a mineral formation, with delicate structures that formed by minerals precipitating from water.
Curiosity has actually seen these types of features before, which are called diagenetic crystal clusters. Diagenetic means the recombination or rearrangement of minerals, and these features consist of three-dimensional crystal clusters, likely made of a combination of minerals. Curiosity deputy project scientist Abigail Fraeman said on Twitter that these features that were seen previously were made of salts called sulfates.
From studies of previous features like this found on Mars (you can read a paper on them here), originally the feature was embedded within a rock, which eroded away over time. These mineral clusters, however, appear to be resistant to erosion.[…]
Read more: Curiosity Rover Finds a Bizarre Rock on Mars That Looks Like a Flower