A shiny-looking blob spotted on Mars sent the internet speculating that it could be metal or foreign, but it’s likely just natural wind erosion at work on rocks on the Red Planet, according to a scientist affiliated with NASA’s Curiosity rover mission. The metallic-like object, which NASA notes looks like a “door handle,” is actually consistent with smooth windblown stones found here on Earth. Antarctica and Norway have similarly textured rocks formed by wind erosion, University of Washington geochemist Ronald Sletten explains, in a new analysis of rover imagery . These types of stones, called ” ventifacts ,” develop multicolored surfaces and odd shapes — like the knotty protrusion on Mars — after they’ve been buffeted by windblown..
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Mars ‘door handle’ is likely just eroded rock, scientist says