Mars ‘Jelly Doughnut’ Rock Mystery Finally Solved

Mars 'Jelly Doughnut' Rock Mystery Finally Solved

The mysterious rock that seemed to come out of nowhere on planet Mars in January ended up causing extreme conjecture among alien fanatics, but it seems that the mystery has finally been solved.  It also is much simpler than what sci-fi fans had hoped for. NASA stated that the strange stone that looked like a jelly doughnut was really just a part of a bigger rock that the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity happened to drive over.

When the rover picked up the abnormality on Mars last month, the scientists at NASA were stunned. An investigation of the rock with the Opportunity’s spectrometer revealed a sort of odd composition that is different from anything they had ever seen before, explained Steve Squyres, who the main researcher in the study of the rock. He added that the stone was around the size of a doughnut and when it showed up, it was a complete surprise. Everyone was extremely startled, wondering about how it had not been there before but it was there now. The small rock ended up becoming quite a point of interest the world over soon after it was first noticed on Jan. 8 by Opportunity’s cameras. It was mystifying because it had never shown up in any images the rover took of the same area.

Because of this, imaginations began to run deep and numerous theories flourished as to what was the origin of the rock. There was even a lawsuit brought up at the very end of last month when Rhawn Joseph, who defined himself as being an astrobiologist, went to court and filed papers against NASA, saying they needed to be doing more to scrutinize the bizarre rock. He also exclaimed that NASA was refusing to reveal the truth about what it was. However, scientists state they have finally figured everything out. The Red Planet rock, which has been nicknamed Pinnacle Island, is said to be a part of a bigger stone that was broken off and then moved by the rover wheel in early January.

NASA released a statement that said as with all their scientific investigation missions, the company will continue to talk over any new information found that is in regards to the rock and also any other images and data if any new information were to become available.

Squyres declared that once the Opportunity had been moved a short distance, and after examining Pinnacle Island, the scientists stated that they were able to look uphill and noticed another rock which had been turned upside down with the  same unusual appearance. Recent images plainly showed the rock part that had been hit by the rover’s wheel, somewhat uphill from where the smaller rock had come to lay.  The rover had driven over it and the scientists stated they could see the track. That was where Pinnacle Island ended up coming from. Squyres added that the Red Planet continues to throw all sorts of interesting things at the astronomers.

But even though the stone does not show signs of there being life on Mars, it was still fascinating. The rover’s instruments ended up showing that the rock contains large levels of manganese and sulfur, which are water soluble elements that might have been intensely concentrated inside the rock due to water action. Such an event could have occurred just under the surface fairly recently, or it might have happened much deeper underground a long time ago. So it seems that the mystery behind the rock which came out of nowhere on planet Mars, in January has finally been solved.  It is not a mystery any longer.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

The L.A. Times

The Washington Post

CNET News

2 Responses to "Mars ‘Jelly Doughnut’ Rock Mystery Finally Solved"

  1. William Bellah   February 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    The story seems to change, we were originally led to believe that the rover had not moved between the time the photo’s were taken.

    Reply
  2. Rob1   February 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I would bet that the white “rock” is really a piece off the vehicle.

    Reply

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