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NASA Space Science

Martian Meteorite Gets NASA Mars Rover's Attention 94

coondoggie writes "NASA's Mars rover Opportunity will take a small detour on its current journey to check out what could be a toaster-sized iron-based meteorite that crashed into the Red Planet. NASA scientists called the rock 'Oileán Ruaidh,' which is the Gaelic name for an island off the coast of northwestern Ireland. The rock is about 45 centimeters (18 inches) wide from the angle at which it was first seen on September 16."
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Martian Meteorite Gets NASA Mars Rover's Attention

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  • Something is missing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stumbles ( 602007 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @05:25AM (#33673172)
    If that is a meteorite, then where is the crater?
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:11AM (#33673664) Homepage Journal

    A rock which has been somewhere else can tell you about conditions at its source, and along the path it took to its present location. It makes sense to investigate rocks like this now because Opportunity may not live much longer. Best to take the opportunities (yeah) as they come.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:53AM (#33673832) Homepage

    You seem know nothing about trig and astrophysics so your assertions are completey bollocks. I can come up with at last 50 scenarios where that rock can simply plop there from space slow enough to make a smallish crater, bounce out and lay on the surface. And I only took classes up to the 101 level.

    Are you assuming that everything in space has millions of miles per hour relative velocities? You know the soil composition of that location?
    Are you telling me that if it came in a very shallow angle it could not get any aerobraking? Strange.... as NASA thinks it can, and I am absolutely certain they know a WHOLE LOT MORE than you do on the subject.

    Also given the gravity well strength of Mars, if that rock was simply captured because it was lazily floating about at only a couple hundred miles an hour, it's impact would be a low energy impact due to relative velocities calculated by any acceleration from mars's gravity well. These are only off the cuff in the head calculations. I'll leave it to you to crack out the calculator or mathlab and give us exact numbers. please calculate out at least 10 reentry angles and show us how you are right and NASA is wrong.

  • Keep on chugg'n (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oracle_of_power ( 750351 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:04AM (#33674290)
    What really is amazing is that the rovers only had a design life of 90days and they are still going after several years.
  • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:00AM (#33674942)

    We don't know that it didn't bounce or roll there- no telling when it got there, the planetary conditions at the time it arrived- maybe Mars had a thicker atmosphere then, whether it impacted there or is it just a fragment of something else that landed there.

    This is the amusing bit: the dweebs here who assume that the only way a piece of rock from space ever winds up on a planetary surface is to come crashing straight down into the atmosphere and drill a deep hole without any fragmentation or ejecta.

    I guess they are ignorant of the entire class of meteorites found on Earth that are believed to be ejecta from Martian impacts. Or they are too stupid to realize that if a rock can hit Mars hard enough that fragments sometimes wind up on Earth, maybe a few of the fragments might just possibly hit Mars at far distant locations.

    Man /. is depressing this morning. The parade of arrogant ignorance on display here these days is really something to see.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.