Search form

Media

These news clips on global space news are provided by the Coalition for Space Exploration for distribution by the Space Foundation to our constituents. You can also subscribe to receive a daily email version.

New Info: Mars Rock Mystery

It’s a bit of a detective story. NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover imagery shows a rock materializing in a spot where it wasn’t seen in earlier imagery.

How’d it get there?

Mars Exploration Rover (MER) scientists have dubbed the object “Pinnacle Island.”

One view is that the robot kicked up the object during its wheeling around the area. Another thought is that it was tossed there by a nearby impact event. Maybe it’s a windblown rock…or is it an ugly looking Mars turtle?

Now James Rice, science team member of the Mars Exploration Rover Project and senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, has piped in on the mystery.

“By now you must have heard about the very unusual rock (Pinnacle Island) which just appeared before us at Cook Haven. There were many articles out with images showing a before and after from Sols 3528 and 3540 (12 sols),” Rice says.

“However, my new analysis shows that the appearance of Pinnacle Island can be further refined to have occurred between Sols 3536 and 3540 (only 4 sols),” Rice told this reporter.

Rice said that most likely the rover did it on Sol 3540 when it did a turn-in-place and bump. “We popped it out. But we are still trying to figure this out along with where it originally was located (I have a candidate divot) and then the bigger question: what is this rock?”

Pinnacle Island has a very unusual composition, Rice said, like nothing the MER scientists have ever seen before.

The Opportunity rover has moved in on the mystery rock and is inspecting the object.

By Leonard David

<
Live Sun Image
 
X

Share This Page

Share this page with friends and bookmark for future reference.

Facebook Share on Facebook Twitter Tweet This LinkedIn Share on LinkedIn

Additional networks and bookmarking websites:

X

Give Us Feedback

We want to hear from you! Feel free to send us your comments about this page. General feedback for the Space Foundation is also welcome.