NASA Finds Jelly Donut

 

NASA

NASA celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Mars rover , Opportunity, with a jelly donut.  It sounds strange, but NASA seems to be thinking a lot about jelly donuts these days.  When NASA started planning the multiple celebration events for the 10th anniversary of its Mars rovers, they never thought jelly donuts would be on the menu. In fact, however, they were. Opportunity spotted a mysterious rock on the “Murray Ridge” section of the planet during its exploration. This new rock seems to have appeared out of nowhere with a white outer appearance and a red center. At a recent NASA 10th anniversary celebration, Mars rover leading scientist, Steve Squyres, of Cornell University in Ithica, NY gave it a name.

” It looks like a jelly donut.” Squyres said, “It’s like nothing we ever seen before. It’s very high in sulfur, very high in magnesium, it has twice as much manganese than anything we’ve seen on Mars. I don’t know what any of this means. We’re completely confused, we’re having a wonderful time.”

This is not the first delicacy to turn up on Mars. NASA reported nearly ten years ago finding small iron-rich bits scattered on the surface that they called “blueberries.” It is thought that these blueberries could be a sign that there was once water on Mars. This most recent find has opened the door for theorist to run wild. Are there aliens on Mars? Are they sending us a signal? Perhaps a peace-offering with food? Perhaps they are just toying with us by leaving unexplained materials scattered around for us to find. These may be fun discussions, but NASA has two theories about how the jelly donut rock just appeared.

One NASA theory suggests it is simply debris. It is theorized that debris may have been spread from an impact crater near the Opportunity rover that just happened to find its way in front of Opportunity’s lens. A second, and more popular, theory suggest rock was kicked up by one of Opportunity’s six wheels. Just 13 days prior to NASA’s jelly donut rock find, pictures from Opportunity showed nothing in the spot that the donut now occupies.

NASA’s Opportunity has been roving around Mars since January 24, 2004. In that time, Opportunity has provided NASA with much information about the Red Planet. That being the case, nothing of similar color or composition has been found previously. To find something new after ten years is a certain indication that Mars is continually challenging NASA professionals. Perhaps this is why Mars is so fascinating to so many people.

There may not be any real jelly donuts or real blueberries on Mars but some are jokingly looking forward to the discovery of coffee to go with the sweets.  Mars could possibly be home to the first space café. That may be a stretch for NASA, but if Opportunity’s ten-year exploration has taught us anything it is that nothing is impossible. NASA may not be serving jelly donuts and blueberries right now but chances are that they will be on the menu for the first human celebration on Mars.

By Shannon Malone

Sources:

CBS
Mother Nature Network
The Washington Post
The Japanese Times