Mars rover Curiosity sent back to Earth an image of what looked like a flower on the red planet. Scientists still do not have enough information about the object, but they insist the pearl-colored material is not biological in nature.
Mars Rover Curiosity: ‘Flower’ Photo Still Baffles Scientists (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)
The Martian "flower" was dubbed as such when it was discussed on Above Top Secret forum. User Arken said the object's irregular form resembled the pistils of a flower. Apparently, some readers took away only the word "flower" from Arken's description.
"It could be a lot of things, but without some chemical information to back me up, I'd really hesitate to say what it is," Aileen Yingst, of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, was quoted by Space.com on Tuesday.
Yingst is the deputy principal investigator for Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI.
"I'm not trying to be cagey," said Yingst, "I'm just trying to be clear that a light grain could be a lot of different things."
The rover Curiosity is set to drill for the first time within the area in which the translucent odd object was spotted and photographed. Scientists hope to gather more data from the site.
"It does indicate that you have, you know, a relatively diverse set of grains just in this one sample," Yingst said, referring to the implication of finding the peculiar Martian grain.
Curiosity is equipped with instruments that can detect organic compounds, or the building blocks of life. The world awaits the next big graphic information that it could get from Mars.
VIDEO: 'Flower' on Mars is not a sign of life - NASA