NASA’s Perseverance rover has picked up a rocky hitchhiker on Mars.
The rover has picked up a “pet rock” stuffed inside its left entrance wheel that has been touring together with Perseverance since early February. Thus far, he has traveled 5.3 miles (8.5 kilometers) with the Perseverance rover as he traverses his residence in Jezero Crater on Mars.
“This rock is not doing the wheel any hurt, however all through its (admittedly bumpy) trip, it has adhered and made common appearances in our Hazcam pictures on the left,” mentioned Eleni Ravanis , scholar collaborator on NASA’s Perseverance mission from the College of Hawaii at Manoa, wrote in an replace (opens in a brand new tab).
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In keeping with Ravanis, Perseverance picked up the little rock from Mars on February 4, the 341st day of the rover (or Sol, as Mars days are known as) on the Crimson Planet. On the time, Perseverance was exploring a rock formation known as “Maaz” that scientists consider was fashioned by historical lava flows.
Since then, Perseverance has carried the rock north by means of its touchdown web site, named for the late well-known science fiction creator Octavia E. Butler, after which west by means of the stays of a area known as “Kodiak”. “, the stays of an historical delta in Jezero. The rover is at the moment within the midst of what NASA calls its Delta Entrance Marketing campaign and should have drilled by means of its first sedimentary rock from Mars, Ravanis wrote.
“Perseverance’s favourite stone is now a great distance from residence,” Ravanis wrote. “It’s doable that the rock will fall off in some unspecified time in the future in our future ascent of the crater rim. If it does, it’ll land between rocks that we anticipate to be very completely different from itself.”
If that occurs, a future Martian geologist is perhaps a bit confused to seek out the rock so misplaced, Ravanis added.
Hitchhiking rocks aren’t any stranger to NASA’s Mars rovers.
In 2004, the Spirit rover picked up what Ravanis described as a “potato-sized” rock on its proper rear wheel that ultimately needed to be dislodged. Perseverance’s cousin, the older Curiosity rover that can have fun its tenth yr on Mars in August, has additionally scooped up rocks by itself battered wheels on occasion because it continues its personal mission in Mars’ Gale Crater.
“Whereas it is not clear precisely how lengthy these rocks stayed, they tended to chip off after just some weeks,” Ravanis wrote. “So Perseverance’s present accomplice is on his approach to setting hitchhiking data on Mars!”