More About Opportunity’s Weird Rock

January 22, 2014 – Yesterday I wrote about the sudden appearance of a rock on a Martian photograph that in previous imaging was not there. Well we’ve learned a bit more about the rock but we still haven’t solved the mystery of its sudden appearance.

Using Opportunity’s robotic arm the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) team has been studying what they have called a “jelly-doughnut” rock and found that its unlike any of the rocks around it. It has high sulfur, magnesium and manganese content and the chief scientist at JPL is quoted as saying it is unlike “anything we’ve seen on Mars.” He goes on to say “I don’t know what any of this means. We’re completely confused, we’re having a wonderful time.”

The team is convinced that one of Opportunity’s wheels dislodged the rock although the rover never traversed the surface that appears in the two pictures.

In colour images you can see just how different the rock is from its surroundings, much brighter in appearance and looking strangely out of place.



Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...