NASA’s Persevere rover has picked up a rocky passenger on the surface of Mars.
The rover has collected a “pet rock” hidden inside its left front wheel which has been riding along with the Perseverance since early February. So far, it has stretched across 5.3 miles (8.5 kilometers) with perseverance rover While driving through her home in Jezero Crater Mars.
“This rock does no harm to the wheel, but during its (undoubtedly bumpy!) journey, it has gripped and periodically appeared in Hazcam’s left images,” Eleni Ravanis, a NASA Perseverance mission student collaborator from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, wrote in Modernization (Opens in a new tab).
According to Ravanese, Perseverance picked up the little Martian rock on February 4, which is the 341st rover day (or Sol as the days of Mars are called) on the red planet. At the time, Perseverance was exploring a rock formation called “Moad” that scientists believe is made up of ancient lava flows.
Since then, perseverance has carried the boulder north through its landing site, named after the famous late Science fiction author Octavia E. Butlerthen westward through the remains an area called “Kodiak”, Remnants of a former delta in Jezero. The rover is currently in the center of what NASA calls the Delta Front campaign, Ravanese writes, and may have drilled into the first sedimentary rock on Mars.
“The rock of perseverance is now a long way from its home,” wrote Ravanese. “It is possible that the boulder may at some point fall along our future ascent of the crater rim. If that happens, it will land among boulders that we would expect to be very different from themselves.”
If that happens, Ravanese added, a future Martian geologist might be a bit confused when he finds the rock out of place.
Wandering rocks are no stranger to NASA’s Mars rovers.
In 2004, soul rover He picked up what Ravanes described as a “potato-sized” rock in her right rear wheel that eventually had to be dislodged. Perseverance older cousin Curiosity roaming Which will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Mars in August, has also picked up rocks on her own broken wheels Every now and then while she continues her special mission in the Gale Crater crater on Mars.
“While it is unclear exactly how long these rocks remained around, they tended to jump after a few weeks,” Ravanese wrote. “The current Perseverance Companion is on its way to setting records for hiking on Mars!”
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