Strange "blueberries" discovered on Mars

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

The long-lived Mars rover Opportunity continues to roam the Martian surface, turning up more examples of the strange berry-like formations discovered earlier embedded in rocks, which scientists dubbed "blueberries."

While investigating a crater called ConcepciĆ³n, the rover found more of the mineral formations, according to a report on

What Opportunity has seen are chunks of the same type of bedrock it has seen at hundreds of locations since landing in January 2004: soft, sulfate-rich sandstone holding harder peppercorn-size dark spheres like berries in a muffin. The little spheres, rich in iron, gained the nickname "blueberries." But these rocks have some unusual twists as well.

"It was clear from the images that Opportunity took on the approach to ConcepciĆ³n that there was strange stuff on lots of the rocks near the crater," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, principal investigator for Opportunity and Spirit. "There's dark, grayish material coating faces of the rocks and filling fractures in them. At least part of it is composed of blueberries jammed together as close as you could pack them. We've never seen anything like this before."

The blueberries appear on a rock nicknamed Chocolate Hills, which science team member Matt Golobek compared to "a blueberry sandwich."

Why am I hungry all of a sudden?

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