TECH

Huge Ball Of Metal Found On Mars

17/07/2014 10:52 BST | Updated 17/07/2014 10:59 BST

Curiosity may be suffering from a few cuts and bruises but that hasn't stopped the intrepid explorer from stumbling across some amazing new discoveries; the most recent of which is a giant iron meteorite.

The robot discovered the massive hunk of metal around 640 days into its mission and although it's not the first iron meteorite ever discovered it's certainly one of the clearest ever captured on the robot's camera.

Nicknamed 'Lebanon' the meteorite is around 2 metres in length and is dotted with cavities and holes. Scientists believe the cause for these is simply erosion.

lebanon meteorite

One of the reasons it looks so well preserved is that iron meteorites often outlast the materials found on the surface of Mars. Whilst the rocks will often erode over time, iron is much tougher so will end up becoming permanent features of the Martian landscape.

As well as the standard Mast Camera which captured this amazing Curiosity 'selfie' the meteorite was shot with the robot's Chem-Cam, a high-resolution camera that's able to take zoomed picture-in-picture images giving researchers a far more accurate look at specific objects of interest. It's just one of 10 instruments that Curiosity has at its disposal.