Mars Rover Landed in 'Area 51' ... Kind Of

NASA has dubbed landing region 'Yellowknife'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2012 8:38 AM CDT
Mars Rover Landed in 'Area 51' ... Kind Of
This undated image made available by NASA shows Mars' Gale Crater, looking south.   (AP Photo/NASA)

Cue the tinfoil hats. Area 51 is the Nevada military base famous among conspiracy buffs for its alleged alien secrets, but the Mars probe Curiosity landed in a part of the Red Planet called ... Quad 51. Coincidence? Well, yes, it's totally a coincidence, reports Florida Today. The Gale Crater region where the Curiosity landed was divided up by scientists into one-mile-square "quads," and the rover just happened to touch down in Quad 51. "That was completely by accident," laughed the Curiosity science chief.

Even rover itself tweeted that there was nothing but chance involved in its touchdown site. Actually, NASA scientists are calling the site "Yellowknife," after the city in the Northwest Territories of Canada that sits on top of 4 billion-year-old rocks. "The rocks we’re looking at on Mars are also billions of years (old), and so there is a nice relationship that way," said a Curiosity scientist. (More Curiosity stories.)

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