Credit: NASA.

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) aka “Curiosity” has found a peculiar rock that appears to be pyramid shaped. The robot rover will now begin to analyze it.

Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer. Credit: NASA

The rock is about 25 centimeters high and 40 centimeters wide. Curiosity will now use its Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer to investigate and take samples of the rock.

This device is able to analyze the composition of the chemical elements in the rock sample. Scattered alpha particles and fluorescent X-rays are used to analyze the sample after having been irradiated with alpha particles and X-rays from radioactive sources.

The stone has been named Jake Matijevic after a scientist at NASA, who has worked with the Curiosity project but sadly passed away in August of this year.

During Curiosity’s two-year prime mission, researchers will use the rover’s 10 science instruments to assess whether the selected field site found in the Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

Stay tuned for more information.