NASA is trying to figure out a “Hey, where’d that come from?” moment on Mars.
Well, it seems they have determined that the rock was dislodged and displaced by one of the rover’s wheels as it maneuvered. Which was one of the leading possibilities.
Mysterious Rock Appears Near Mars Rover
An odd-looking bit of rock mysteriously appeared in front of Opportunity rover in the beginning of January as the rover, waiting out the Martian winter, has not moved since the end of November, according to NASA.
The rock suddenly appeared on photographs taken by Opportunity Mars rover on Sol (Martian day) 3540 or January 8 Earth time, according to NASA’s website.
Photographs previously taken on Sol 3536 showed no trace of the rock. The body was named ‘Pinnacle Island’, according to Opportunity’s Pancam database descriptions.
The discovery sparked debate among bloggers with various suggestions of the rock’s origin.
Among some of the wildest suggestions was the theory that it’s a meteorite, and it literally fell from the sky and landed next to the rover, according to Road to Endeavor blog.
Or that the rock is a piece of ejecta – a piece of Martian rock which landed here after being blown out of the ground by a meteoroid impact.
Well, the rover is parked on a hill so its solar panels can be positioned to face the sun, lower in the sky for the Martian winter. It is just possible something broke loose and tumbled a bit. Or, as the article say this rock could have been kicked up by the rover itself as it maneuvered. Or…
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