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NASA solves Mars rock mystery


Posted on Saturday, 15 February, 2014 | Comment icon 21 comments

Before (left) and after (right) the rock appeared. Image Credit: NASA
The rock caused quite a stir last month when it appeared out of nowhere in a photograph taken on Mars.
Dubbed "Pinnacle Island", the strange rock generated a significant degree of interest when it turned up in one of the photographs taken by the Curiosity rover a short space of time after a previous image of the same location showed no such object.

Some speculated that the rock could be evidence of geological activity, a fallen meteorite or even extraterrestrial life. At the time, author and researcher Rhawn Joseph even threatened to take legal action against the space agency on the basis that he didn't believe they had done enough to investigate it.

Now NASA scientists have conclusively identified the rock as just that, a rock, and believe that it was flung in to the frame of the photograph by the rover's wheels.

"Once we moved Opportunity a short distance, after inspecting Pinnacle Island, we could see directly uphill an overturned rock that has the same unusual appearance," said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson. "We drove over it. We can see the track. That's where Pinnacle Island came from."

Source: NASA | Comments (21)

Tags: Mars, Curiosity

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by Twin on 15 February, 2014, 17:41
It looks like the rover lost a couple of lug nuts.
Comment icon #13 Posted by ancient astronaut on 15 February, 2014, 19:48
Hey, I saw Transformers. All they have to do is show the rest of the picture and you'll see.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Silver Surfer on 15 February, 2014, 21:07
Someone had to say it..
Comment icon #15 Posted by qxcontinuum on 16 February, 2014, 4:52
It looks like the rover lost a couple of lug nuts. Bwhahaha ... Nice catch!
Comment icon #16 Posted by chopmo on 16 February, 2014, 9:15
looking at before and latter, all theories aside, it just looks like they caught a gas release, the is a circle crevast where the object is. anyone noticed on the ground is a near perfect circle with a triangle in the middle just under it where the object is/was?
Comment icon #17 Posted by man in grey on 16 February, 2014, 11:19
All we need to do now then is find out who drew the face just below the rock,its quite clear with eyes nose and mouth!
Comment icon #18 Posted by Lucky7 on 17 February, 2014, 0:20
another mystery solved, Jinkies !
Comment icon #19 Posted by Merc14 on 17 February, 2014, 0:48
Exactly right, and folks need to remember, it takes TIME to get that old rover, with a bust wheel, to do things, like make turns and survey its area. NASA as usual have done everything right, while Mr Joseph who is trying to sue them for not analysing the- as he said - 'growing object' now has some egg on his face I imagine On its 10th year of a 90 day mission! Talk about bang for your buck. Has zoser said he doesn't believe it yet?
Comment icon #20 Posted by seeder on 17 February, 2014, 1:00
On its 10th year of a 90 day mission! Talk about bang for your buck. Has zoser said he doesn't believe it yet? Course he wont believe it. Coz NASA always covers things up and feeds us dis-info. So that really was a live thingumybob growing there!! Just like the previous one was
Comment icon #21 Posted by AZDZ on 17 February, 2014, 2:05
I am sorry, but whatever that thing is it looks like it's advertizing for a mate.


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