Mars Mystery: Where’d That Rock Come From?
My money is on an extraterrestrial playing head games with the primitive humans, but Earth scientists have a couple of plausible theories:
Scientists are stumped as to how a rock mysteriously appeared in images of the same spot taken two weeks apart by Nasa’s Mars rover Opportunity.
The rover, which landed in an area known as Meridiani Planum a decade ago, is exploring the rim of a crater for signs of past water.
On January 8, while preparing to use its robotic arm for science investigation, Opportunity sent back a picture of its work area.
It showed a bright white rock, about the size of a doughnut, where only barren bedrock had appeared in a picture it had sent back two weeks earlier. Scientists suspect the rock was flipped over by one of the rover’s wheels.
It also may have been deposited after a meteorite landed nearby.
Either way, the rock, dubbed “Pinnacle Island”, is providing an unexpected science bonus.