It was expected to be just another lump of dull basalt, but the first rock examined up close by Nasa’s Mars rover proved to be a little more interesting.
The pyramidal object, nicknamed “Jake Matijevic” after a recently passed mission engineer, had a composition not seen on the planet before. Scientists have likened it to some unusual but well known rocks on Earth.
These form from relatively water-rich magmas that have cooled slowly at raised pressures, said Edward Stolper.
This story about Mars Opportunity is full of fascinating information about recent discoveries the car-sized rover has made in Gale Crater on the Red Planet. I have to say I usually like what the BBC’s Jonathan Amos writes, but this one made me stop and wonder.
A recently passed mission engineer. What has he passed? Wind? Go, and not collected £200? His 11+? A-level Chemistry? Driving test?
(With apologies to Mr Matijevic’s family, of course. No offence intended.)
Ah, of course. It’s that odd American English way of saying someone has died.
’E’s not pinin’! ’E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ’E’s expired and gone to meet ’is maker! ’E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ’e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ’im to the perch ’e’d be pushing up the daisies! ’Is metabolic processes are now ’istory! ’E’s off the twig! ’E’s kicked the bucket, ’e’s shuffled off ’is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!
UPDATE: 14/10/12 Someone at Auntie must read this blog, or sees my Twitter feed. The word “passed” has been edited to “deceased”.