The pyramid and the egg: interesting new rocks seen by the Curiosity rover

Pyramid-shaped rock Jake Matijevic found by the Curiosity rover. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Stuart Atkinson

As the Curiosity rover continues its trek across the bottom of Gale crater towards Mount Sharp, it sometimes finds, as with any Mars mission, rocks that look a little unusual. Not too surprising, given that erosion by wind or water could create many different shapes over the eons.

Here are a couple good examples from the past few days. The first is a smooth-looking egg-shaped rock just be sitting by itself amongst all of the other rocks and stones, which mostly appear to be rougher and angular in shape. Curiosity apparently passed it by without a closer look however so this may be the only view we get of it.

The “egg” rock. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Close-up view of the “egg” rock. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The second rock is also kind of just sitting out there by itself, and its roughly pyramidal shape stands out from the surrounding terrain. This time, the rover has stopped and is currently examining it extensively. About the size of a football, it was nicknamed Jake Matijevic, in tribute to the late Jacob Matijevic (1947-2012), who was an engineer involved with all three generations of Mars rovers so far. Interestingly, the one side seen so far looks relatively smooth, while the other has a “melted” appearance.

Close-up view of Jake Matijevic. One side seen here looks relatively smooth, while the other has a “melted” appearance.
Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Stuart Atkinson