NASA Mars Rover Has a ‘Pet Rock’ Stuck in Its Wheel That Refuses to Leave

This story is a part of Welcome to Mars, our sequence exploring the purple planet.

 

It’s laborious for me to decide a favourite rock on Mars. There’s the “butt crack” and the “flower” and, after all, the beautiful blueberries, however my present geologic darling is the NASA Perseverance rover wheel rock, a chunky stowaway that has been clinging to the within of the automobile’s shoe since a minimum of early February.

The wheel rock has now been upgraded to “pet rock” standing by Eleni Ravanis, a Perseverance pupil collaborator from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. “If this pet rock might discuss, it’d inform us in regards to the modifications it is seen as we travelled again north by way of the Octavia E. Butler touchdown web site, after which west, passing the spectacular stays of the previous extent of the delta, ‘Kodiak,’ on our journey to the western Jezero delta,” Ravanis wrote in a mission update on Thursday.

The rock is situated in the rover’s left entrance wheel and has up to now hitchhiked over 5.3 miles (8.5 kilometers) throughout the panorama. It’s just like the Marco Polo of Martian rocks.

The rock first got here to my consideration in early March. At that point, NASA spokesperson Andrew Good stated the rock was “not perceived as a danger.” That standing hasn’t modified. Perseverance is supplied with powerful aluminum wheels that includes an upgraded design in contrast to its older sibling, the Curiosity rover. Curiosity’s wheels have taken fairly a beating in its a few years on Mars.

The rock might stick round, or it’d fall out as Perseverance continues to discover the Jezero Crater, accumulating rock samples and in search of indicators of historical microbial life. If it does fall out, it will likely be removed from dwelling and amongst geologic strangers. Ravanis had a message for any future Martian geologist who is perhaps mapping the crater: “If you’ve got discovered a rock that appears misplaced, you may simply be wanting on the former pet rock of Perseverance!”


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