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Did you know?
New Rock Discovered On Mars
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PASADENA, California - NASA scientists are applauding the latest triumph by their plucky Martian robotic geologist team, Spirit and Opportunity. "With the clock running out on Opportunity, we've been thinking we had gotten all we were going to get," announced NASA geologist Rodney Rings, "And then this comes along. Ladies and gentlemen, this is exactly why we're in space." On cue, the screen behind Rings lit up with a now familiar scan of the Martian landscape. Rings pointed to a large red circle in the image, saying, "This rock is unlike any other rock ever seen by human eyes. It is unique in our experience, truly, an alien on an alien world."

"That, Sir, is not an impressive rock."
-- Professor of Geology, Milo M. Speeks
"How is this rock different from others you've found on Mars?" asked one reporter, echoing the question of many. "It's a complicated geological puzzle," came Rings' response, "But it can be boiled down to our basic rock types: Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic, formed from crystallization, sediments, and change over time, respectively. As you can see from these images, this rock is not a crystal. Opportunity chipped a quarter inch into the surface of the rock, and found that it does not contain the striations we would look for in a sedimentary rock. Nor is it metamorphic, since the airy pockets suggest recent formation in an environment of intense heat, but little pressure. Finally, x-ray spectrometry reveals an inner core consisting of a creamy, near-liquid material. All of this has led us to declare a new rock type tentatively called 'Twinkie'."

"I think it's premature to declare a whole new category of rock, particularly one named after a distasteful snack food," said retired Professor of Geology, Milo M. Speeks. "We've gotten along with the three categories for some time now. Granted, I've always seen 'metamorphic' as something of a cop-out. But that's neither here nor there. As the great geologist J.W. Gregory once said, 'I've seen boring rocks, and I've seen impressive rocks, and that Sir, is not an impressive rock.' If they'd found the same rock on Long Island, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

NASA stands by the discovery, however, announcing it on its web site and inviting comment on the discovery. "We want this to be an open conversation about what we can accomplish through space exploration," explained NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe, "We will be publishing all appropriate comments and criticisms about the discovery received through the web site."
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