05:19 GMT +321 July 2018
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    Mars surface

    Curiosity Rover Explores Scotland-Like Terrain on Red Planet

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    NASA rover Curiosity is exploring territory on Mars marked by a red sandstone formation known as Torridonian, similar to formations found in Scotland.

    It is quite surprising to discover that parts of the red planet have been named after geological formations and places on Earth. 

    Currently, Curiosity is sending back images from a Martian ”Scotland,” as the geological formations are strikingly similar to those seen in the actual Scotland on Earth.

    NASA has borrowed several names from geographic points in the Torridonian Supergroup in the north-western Highlands to describe areas on Mars, such as Torridon, Siccar Point, Muck, Wick, Sandwick and Holyrood.

    Curiosity is set to spend a year exploring the Torridon quadrangle on the red planet.

    "The group thought it appropriate to have a Scottish quadrangle because Scotland is the really the birthplace of geology,” Professor John Bridges, of the University of Leicester who is a participating scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, told BBC.

    "Torridon has this red sandstone called the Torridonian which are the oldest sediments in the UK, and they are a great analogue for what we are seeing on Mars,” he added.

    Various geological features on Mars have also been given Scottish names. 

    Curiosity is a small, car sized, rover designed to explore the Gale Crater on Mars as part of a NASA mission. It was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011. 

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    Tags:
    landscape, space, exploration, Mars rover, Curiosity
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