News / Science & Technology

Mystery White Rock Inexplicably Appears Near NASA Mars Rover

The images are from Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam). The one on the left is from 3,528th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Dec. 26, 2013). The one on the right, with the newly arrived rock, is from Sol 3540 (Jan. 8, 2014). ( NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)
The images are from Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam). The one on the left is from 3,528th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Dec. 26, 2013). The one on the right, with the newly arrived rock, is from Sol 3540 (Jan. 8, 2014). ( NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)
Reuters
Scientists are stumped as to how a rock mysteriously appeared in images taken two weeks apart by NASA's Mars rover Opportunity.

The rover, which landed in an area known as Meridiani Planum a decade ago, is exploring the rim of a crater for signs of past water.

Another rover, Curiosity, touched down on the opposite side of the planet in 2012 for a more ambitious mission to look for past habitable environments. For the moment, however, scientists are pondering a more immediate question.

On Jan. 8, while preparing to use its robotic arm for science investigation, Opportunity sent back a picture of its work area.

Oddly, it showed a bright white rock, about the size of a doughnut, where only barren bedrock had appeared in a picture taken two weeks earlier. Scientists suspect the rock was flipped over by one of the rover's wheels.

It also may have been deposited after a meteorite landed nearby.

Either way, the rock, dubbed "Pinnacle Island" is providing an unexpected science bonus.

"Much of the rock is bright-toned, nearly white," NASA said in a statement on Tuesday. "A portion is deep red in color.

Pinnacle Island may have been flipped upside-down when a wheel dislodged it, providing an unusual circumstance for examining the underside of a Martian rock."

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: mike from: Arizona
January 31, 2014 11:00 AM
It looks like a new life form, similar to the anemones found around the deep ocean 'Black Smoker" vents. This one would have to be made from a sulfur/magnesium base. Or use such chemicals as a food or heat source.


by: gary from: United Kingdom
January 25, 2014 9:44 PM
"Quadrata Martis", latin for the squares of Mars...
have a look at this latest discovery as its probably
now the biggest new mystery of Mars imaging.(click below)
http://gigapan.com/gigapans/148682


by: Gigi from: Denver
January 25, 2014 2:18 AM
Between 8 and 9 o'clock, in the after picture, you can see the edge of an object of similar color to the rock. I would assume it's not apart of opportunity because the article says that it took the picture as it was Preparing it's workspace. Meteor debris? It just landed and fell perfectly into the bedrock without disturbing a single rock nearby? Sounds very fishy.


by: Stephen from: Jarrow, UK
January 24, 2014 12:49 PM
It's obvious, some Martian kids where throwing stones at the scary alien who's landed on their planet.


by: oldsalt from: Portland, Oregon
January 23, 2014 6:02 PM
It appears that it may be a simple crystal formation. I have observed this many times on the damp cement walls of basements in the Pacific northwest USA. Chemicals in the cement would come out of the wall and form a circle of material on the cement that looked very much like that in the photo. "Dampness", ie the availability of martian water has been established. I am surprised that this has not been at least mentioned, even dismissively.


by: Norb from: Brazil
January 23, 2014 9:03 AM
Doesnt make sense for dry ice to have formed over a single nucleation point on a relatively wide area like that.


by: dante from: pa
January 23, 2014 8:29 AM
is it part of the rover? some part that flaked off? and who made the brick road?

In Response

by: ETHERHEAD from: USMN
January 30, 2014 11:51 PM
Why not wind blown remains of Soviet Mars2/3 crashed/lost or Viking parachute/rocket wadding? There appears a small led/aluminum blue(atmospheric reflection of) lens flare that is to "Hot" for the weak luminescence-quash digital sensor also.


by: Nicolas from: California
January 22, 2014 9:40 PM
At pressures below 5.13 atm and temperatures below −56.4 °C (−69.5 °F) (the triple point), CO2 changes from a solid to a gas with no intervening liquid form, through a process called sublimation. The opposite process is called deposition, where CO2 changes from the gas to solid phase (dry ice)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid