Mars donut! The persistent rover spots a holey rock on the Red Planet

Mars donut! The persistent rover spots a holey rock on the Red Planet

The Perseverance Mars rover of NASA has rolled over on what appears to be a rocky donut that fell from the sky.

Perseverance took a picture of a large, dark stone with a hole in the middle on Friday, June 23. The fact that the intriguing rock is surrounded by others of the same hue lends credence to the possibility of a common origin that extends beyond Mars.

On Monday (June 26), representatives of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California, made the following statement via Twitter: “could be a large meteorite alongside smaller pieces.”

A finding like this is not out of the ordinary. Just a few weeks after its February 2021 touchdown, Perseverance discovered a possible meteorite.

Since its arrival on Mars in August 2012, the rover’s older sibling, Curiosity, has also uncovered a number of space rocks, the most recent of which was a metallic object dubbed Cacao in February of this year.

By the way, the pastry-like rock that Perseverance discovered is not the first one that a Mars robot has rolled up on. When NASA’s Opportunity rover spotted a stone in January 2014 that was red inside and white on the outside, mission team members compared it to a jelly donut.

Jezero, a 28-by-45-kilometer Mars crater that once housed a large lake and a river delta billions of years ago, is the focus of Perseverance’s investigation. The rover, which is the size of a car, is studying that ancient environment, looking for evidence of ancient life, and collecting dozens of samples for a possible return to Earth.

The big rover is getting help from a small helicopter called Ingenuity. With Perseverance, Ingenuity rode to Mars and quickly completed its five-flight demonstration mission, demonstrating that Mars can be explored by air.

The helicopter, which weighs four pounds (1.8 kilograms) and is currently deep into a lengthy mission, is scouting potential routes and promising science targets for its robotic partner to investigate. Up until this point, Ingenuity has carried out 51 flights on Mars, covering a total of 7.3 miles (11.7 kilometers) of the planet’s surface.

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