While roaming the Martian terrain, NASA’s Perseverance rover spotted an odd-shaped rock that may have traveled its way from space to land on the Red Planet.
Using its SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager, the Perseverance rover snapped a series of images on Friday that revealed a donut-shaped rock laying on the surface of Mars. The large rock has a hole in the middle and is surrounded by smaller fragments that may have broken off from it, sort of like a donut and its donut holes.
The donut rock may be a meteorite that landed on Mars, according to a tweet by the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute. It “could be a large meteorite alongside smaller pieces,” SETI researchers wrote.
Mars is often littered with space rocks as the planet is located next to the main asteroid belt of the Solar System, which contains millions of rocky objects. The atmosphere on Mars is only 1% as thick as Earth’s atmosphere, which means that space rocks can easily travel through the Martian atmosphere largely unscathed, landing in bigger pieces as opposed to disintegrating through Earth’s atmosphere.
Shortly after landing on the Red Planet, the Perseverance rover spotted another odd rock that may have also been a meteorite. In true Percy fashion, the rover zapped it with lasers to investigate it. “This odd one has my science team trading lots of hypotheses,” NASA’s Perseverance team wrote on Twitter.
While the helicopter is getting ready, I can’t help checking out nearby rocks. This odd one has my science team trading lots of hypotheses.
It’s about 6 inches (15 cm) long. If you look closely, you might spot the row of laser marks where I zapped it to learn more. pic.twitter.com/sq4ecvqsOu
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) March 31, 2021
NASA’s rovers spot all kinds of weirdly-shaped objects on Mars, but sometimes we get carried away in trying to familiarize ourselves with what we see on another world, like a doorway-shaped rock formation, human faces emerging from the rocky surface of Mars, or a discarded spoon.
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