Nasa says mystery rock on Mars is ‘like nothing we’ve ever seen before’
2014-01-20 0:00

From: Belfast Telegraph

A mysterious ’jelly doughnut rock’ which appeared in front of the Opportunity rover is “like nothing we’ve ever seen before”, according to Mars exploration scientists at Nasa.

Experts said they were “completely confused” by both the origins and makeup of the object, which is currently being investigated by Opportunity’s various measuring instruments.


Images captured by Opportunity show the mysterious rock ’appeared’ on an outcrop that had been empty just 12 Martian days (’Sols’) earlier.

Astronomers noticed the new rock had “appeared” without any explanation on an outcrop which had been empty just days earlier. The rover has been stuck photographing the same region of Mars for more than a month due to bad weather, with scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California monitoring the images it sends.

Nasa issued a Mars status report entitled “encountering a surprise”, and lead Mars Exploration rover scientist Steve Squyres told a JPL event it seems the planet literally “keeps throwing new things at us”.

He said the images, from 12 Martian days apart, were from no more than a couple of weeks ago. “We saw this rock just sitting here. It looks white around the edge in the middle and there’s a low spot in the centre that’s dark red – it looks like a jelly doughnut.

“And it appeared, just plain appeared at that spot – and we haven’t ever driven over that spot.”

Squyres said his team had two theories on how the rock got there – that there’s “a smoking hole in the ground somewhere nearby” and it was caused by a meteor, or that it was “somehow flicked out of the ground by a wheel” as the rover went by.

“We had driven a metre or two away from here, and I think the idea that somehow we mysteriously flicked it with a wheel is the best explanation,” Squyres said.

Yet the story got even stranger when Opportunity investigated further. Squyres explained: “We are as we speak situated with the rover’s instruments deployed making measurements of this rock.

“We’ve taken pictures of both the doughnut and jelly parts, and the got the first data on the composition of the jelly yesterday.

“It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” he said. “It’s very high in sulphur, it’s very high in magnesium, it’s got twice as much manganese as we’ve ever seen in anything on Mars.

“I don’t know what any of this means. We’re completely confused, and everyone in the team is arguing and fighting (over what it means).

“That’s the beauty of this mission… what I’ve realised is that we will never be finished. There will always be something tantalising, something wonderful just beyond our reach that we didn’t quite get to – and that’s the nature of exploration.”

Squyres was speaking at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the arrival of Opportunity and Spirit on the surface of Mars.

While Spirit lost contact with Earth and was later declared “dead” in 2010, Opportunity has now roamed the planet far in excess of what was originally planned as a three-month mission. Nasa said that with its maximum speed of just 0.05mph, as of “Sol 3547” (15 January 2014) Opportunity had covered just over 24 miles (38km).

Article from: belfasttelegraph.co.uk








READ: Mystery Mars rock reveals unexpected chemical composition




Related Articles
Mysterious rock appears near Mars rover Opportunity
Curiosity breaks rock to reveal dazzling white interior
Curiosity’s surprising geological finds and spectacular self-portrait
Weather On Mars Surprisingly Warm, Curiosity Rover Finds
Has Mars Preserved Evidence of Ancient Life? Groundbreaking New Look at the 1976 Viking Mission Findings
Mars May Have Harbored Life 3.6 Billion Years Ago


Latest News from our Front Page

Resident of Calais speaks. This is the death of civilization.
2016-02-10 21:46
Youtube description: Heart breaking description of how a government can destroy a city and a people. If ever there was an example of why a free people need a 1st and 2nd amendment style protection, this is it. Please watch it all. The original comes from here http://ripostelaique.com/le-temoignag... one of the most important websites in Europe. Source: youtube.com
Learning how white people ruin the world
2016-02-10 20:41
A conservative black activist warns that "white guilt" has found its way from our college campuses into the halls of the local high school.  Derryck Green of Project 21 says he's troubled by the "White Privilege Conference" coming in April in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The website for "The WPC" states that it purpose is to examine "privilege and oppression" in order to create ...
Controversial film shown at VA high school slammed as 'White guilt' video
2016-02-10 20:11
Some Henrico parents are outraged about a controversial video shown at Glen Allen High School. It tackles things like racial profiling and the school to prison to pipeline. The YouTube video titled "Structural Discrimination: The Unequal Opportunity Race," was shown to students at a Glen Allen High School Black History month program. "Dr. King gave his life so that America would ...
Turkey's Erdogan threatened to flood Europe with migrants: Greek website
2016-02-09 23:04
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan threatened in November to flood Europe with migrants if European Union leaders did not offer him a better deal to help manage the Middle East refugee crisis, a Greek news website said on Monday. Publishing what it said were minutes of a tense meeting last November, the euro2day.gr financial news website revealed deep mutual irritation and distrust ...
Will Denmark Be The First Islamic Nation In Europe?
2016-02-09 23:44
Daily headlines prove that Europe is bursting at the seams with Islamists attempting to establish Sharia law and homegrown terror plots. France is ablaze with radicals, ISIS threatens they will send Spain back to the times of the Ottoman Empire, and Britain is much too concerned with appeasing Muslims that they are doing away with their own citizens’ free speech. The ...
More News »