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

Martian geological areas and options have been named by Nasa after locations on Earth.

Several of the names have been taken from Scotland and, in addition to Torridon, there’s a Siccar Point, Muck, Wick, Sandwick and Holyrood on Mars.

Five years in the past, a celebration was held when Curiosity reached an space referred to as Glenelg.

Nasa selected the identify Torridon because of the Torridonian Supergroup, a geological formation within the north west Highlands that comprises a number of the oldest proof of lifetime of any rocks within the UK.

Berwickshire coast

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

Curiosity is scheduled to spend a 12 months exploring the Torridon quadrangle.

Prof Bridges instructed BBC Alba: “The group thought it applicable to have a Scottish quadrangle as a result of Scotland is the actually the birthplace of geology.

“Torridon has this crimson sandstone referred to as the Torridonian that are the oldest sediments within the UK, and they’re an excellent analogue for what we’re seeing on Mars.”

Geological options on the planet, akin to rocky outcrops, have additionally been given Scottish names.

These embody Yell and Sandness in Shetland, Coll, Arran, Oban and likewise Siccar Point on the Berwickshire coast, an space of geology studied by Edinburgh-born 18th Century geologist James Hutton.

Talisker and Laphroaig, the names of two Scottish whiskies, have additionally been used.

Another of the options has been referred to as Stonehaven, the place there’s a chip store that claims to be the birthplace of the deep-fried Mars bar.

In October 2012, the small Scottish neighborhood of Glenelg within the west Highlands marked Curiosity’s arrival at its namesake on the Red Planet with a ceilidh.

Guests on the occasion included former astronaut Bonnie Dunbar and Scotland’s Astronomer Royal, Prof John Brown.

Ms Dunbar flew on 5 house shuttle missions within the 1980s and 1990s on Challenger and Columbia.

In 1995, she flew within the first shuttle mission to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. Three years later, she flew within the final mission to ship a US astronaut to Mir.

Ms Dunbar’s paternal grandparents got here from Scotland. Her grandfather Charles Dunbar was born in Dundee and her grandmother Mary was born near Gardenstown, close to Banff.

Nasa rover visits 'Scotland' on Mars by: Elie Abi Younes published:


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