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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

'Flower on Mars' report is baseless: Nasa scientist

Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 08, 2013
First Published: 00:15 IST(8/1/2013) | Last Updated: 00:19 IST(8/1/2013)

Amitabha Ghosh, chairman, Science Operations Working Group - Mission Operations at the Nasa Mars Exploration Rover Mission, says that  reports on  spotting a  'Martian flower' is nothing but frivolous.

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"Earlier also, while we were working on Opportunity Rover, there were pictures which triggered speculative reports of a mermaid being on Mars," the Nasa geologist told Hindustan Times over phone.

The comment on a flower being on Mars,  he said was not from a scientist involved in the mission  and is not an official statement of the Nasa.

"I think the report is an offshoot of an online conversation and I guess the flower is some blogger's description of its appearance. This does not really mean that flowers exist on Mars."

On Sunday, there were reports that a peculiar petal-shaped cluster spotted on Mars by Nasa scientists had sparked speculation that flowers might be blooming on the red planet.

"The so-called "Martian flower" is seen in an image captured by Nasa's Curiosity Rover in December 2012. In the image, pearl-coloured petals appear to sprout from a rock's surface," the report said.

Space fans on online discussion forums remarked that it might be quartz embedded in the rock.

One optimistic commenter suggested it might be the pistils of a blooming flower, the New York Daily News had reported.

Mars exploration has become one of the hot topics for research and study space explorers. India's mission to Mars is scheduled for November this year.

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