Nasa rover Curiosity visits 'Scotland' on Mars

From BBC - January 11, 2018

Nasa's Mars rover Curiosity is exploring a part of the planet named after Torridon in Scotland.

Martian geological areas and features have been named by Nasa after places on Earth.

Several of the names have been taken from Scotland and, as well as Torridon, there is a Siccar Point, Muck, Wick, Sandwick and Holyrood on Mars.

Five years ago, a celebration was held when Curiosity reached an area called Glenelg.

Nasa chose the name Torridon due to the Torridonian Supergroup, a geological formation in the north west Highlands that contains some of the oldest evidence of life of any rocks in the UK.

Berwickshire coast

Prof John Bridges, of the University of Leicester and a participating scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, said the Red Planet had been divided up into quadrangles by scientists studying it.

Curiosity is scheduled to spend a year exploring the Torridon quadrangle.

Prof Bridges told BBC Alba: "The group thought it appropriate to have a Scottish quadrangle because Scotland is the really the birthplace of geology.

"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."


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