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NASA’s Curiosity rover finds ‘flower’ on surface of Mars

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Does this image taken by Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager show a "Martian flower?" (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA has released a series of new photos taken by its Curiosity rover that appear to show a “flower” on the surface of Mars.

NBCNews.com’s photo blog reports that the photos were taken as part of an effort to capture 360-degree images during Curiosity’s trek through Mars’ Yellowknife Bay.

New Jersey-based journalist and photographer Ken Kramer has assembled the Curiosity photographs, adding color to give a realistic view of what the rover is seeing on the planet’s surface.

But what has really caught people’s attention is a raw image from NASA’s photo feed that one reader on Above Top Secret has called a “Martian flower.” On the posting, the commenter going by the name “Arken,” writes: “The Albedo (or Reflectivity of Sun Light) of this object is very high, and its translucent appearance, the irregular conformation (like pistils) and the 'texture' of its wider areas is smooth, and seem that it is ground attached. This is the SECOND TRANSLUCENT ANOMALY detected by Curiosity in Gale Crater.”

NBC’s Alan Boyle writes that he at first assumed the “flower” was actually just a piece of plastic that had fallen off the Curiosity rover. A similar event happened in October. So, Boyle reached out to NASA spokesman Guy Webster. Interestingly, Webster shot down the plastic theory, saying in response, "That appears to be part of the rock, not debris from the spacecraft."

On Wednesday, scientists announced that an ancient rock that traveled from Mars to Earth over 2 billion years ago appears to have interacted with water on the planet’s surface.

So, what do you think? Does the image show a decayed piece of organic life residing on the surface of Mars?

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