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Mars Rock Mystery To Be Solved Soon, Says NASA Expert

Update Date: Jan 24, 2014 10:02 AM EST
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A 'doughnut' look-alike strange rock has appeared on Mars and scientists are closer to figuring out how it got there, according to a top Nasa expert. 

The picture was taken 12 days apart by Nasa's decade-old Opportunity rover. The rock did not appear in the picture taken on December 26, 2013 but was on January 8. 

"It looks like a jelly doughnut, white around the outside, red in the middle," said Steve Squyres, the principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rovers, according to The Telegraph. 

"We have looked at it with our microscope. It is clearly a rock," he told reporters in a briefing to mark 10 years since Nasa's solar-powered Opportunity landed on the Mars. 

Mr Squyres said scientists believe the rock might have got there when the aging rover did a pirouette turn in the dusty Martain soil. It then might have knocked loose a chuck of bedrock that rolled a short distance, reported The Telegraph. 

"We think that in the process of that wheel moving across the ground, we kind of flicked it, kind of tiddly winked it out of the ground and it moved to the location where we see it," Mr Squyres said.

Scientists are calling that rock as "Pinnacle Island."

"It appears that it may have flipped itself upside down," he said.

"If that is the case, what we are seeing is we are seeing the surface, the underside of a rock, that hasn't seen the Martian atmosphere for perhaps billions of years."

According to scientists the rock contains a very high concentrations of manganese and mangnesium along with sulphur. 

"We are still working this out. We are making measurements right now. This is an ongoing story of discovery," he said, according to The Telegraph. 

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