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Curiosity Rover Snaps Pic of 'Martian Flower'?

NASA Rep says it 'appears to be part of the rock'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2013 3:33 PM CST
Updated Jan 6, 2013 4:00 PM CST

(Newser) – So, can flowers grow at -65 Fahrenheit? That was apparently the belief of one website reader after the Curiosity rover sent back a photo of a hard-to-identify, light-colored object on Mars, Space.com reports. Noting its reflection of sunlight, "translucent appearance," and "irregular confirmation (like pistils)," the reader on Above Top Secret dubbed it a "Martian Flower." Other readers likened it to a crystal, quartz rock, "part of the rover," and "the ring I lost years ago. I wondered where it had go to!"

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So NBC's Alan Boyle went to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for answers. He asked whether the "flower" might be a broken part of Curiosity, as was another tiny, bright object the rover spotted in October. "That appears to be part of the rock, not debris from the spacecraft," said a spokesperson. That's all for now—but Boyle concludes that if flowers really are growing on Mars, "you'll know it's time to cue up the 'X-Files' theme. Either way, the truth is out there." (Read more Mars stories.)

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