Mysterious rock appears near Mars rover Opportunity
- uploaded: Jan 18, 2014
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Practically overnight, an unexplained piece of rock has shown up on photos from NASA's Mars rover Opportunity, The rover hasn't moved in over a month, as it waits for better weather, but a photo taken on Sol 3540 (Jan. 8, or the 3,540th Martian solar day since the Opportunity rover landed) shows a rock that wasn't visible in previous photos taken on Sol 3536.(A solar day on Mars, as measured by the sun's movement, lasts about 24 hours and 40 minutes.)Staffers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California who maintain the rover camera (pancam) database for NASA have named the rock Pinnacle and other folks who follow this kind of thing don't know quite what to make of the mysterious chunk of four theories:1. It's a meteorite that fell from the sky and landed next to the rover. Atkinson admits that's a long shot, even longer than Opportunity's "cosmic hole-in-one" landing in Mars' Eagle crater on Jan. 25, It's a piece of Martian rock that was blown out of the ground by a meteoroid impact and landed next to the rover. Still unlikely, he The rock previously got stuck in a rover wheel and finally fell out in this spot. Very possible, 4. It rolled down a slope from somewhere higher up. "That's the least crazy but also the most boring idea,"