Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Mystery of a Strange Rock on Mars that Suddenly Appeared in Front of NASA's Opportunity Rover

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A jelly doughnut rock on Mars is one strange news story that space experts remain baffled by this week, though new evidence on this stone — being called “Pinnacle Island” by researchers — is now being examined and yielding even more peculiar results. Scientists have recently discovered that the foreign object is in fact high in 3 elements in particular: sulfur, magnesium, and manganese.

Even "Star Trek" actor William Shatner wants to know what's going on with the stone, which looks like a jelly doughnut.

The jelly doughnut rock, as it is being affectionately called for looking quite like the sweet dessert, is in fact one of the oddest things on Mars that space experts have ever come across on the distant planet. The stone randomly appeared before NASA’s Opportunity rover last week, and has remained a source of interest and speculation ever since. First spotted this Jan. 8, experts quickly realized that this stone had not existed in the same location only 13 days before.

“Pinnacle Island” is the name of this strange rock being examined, and the foreign object can be clearly seen as a whitish color on the outer surface, while bearing a reddish color toward its center. The “jelly doughnut rock Mars” spectacle was first called as such by a lead scientist in the Opportunity rover’s mission, Steve Squyres.
"It looks like a jelly donut," said Steve Squyres, the rover's lead scientist at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., during a recent NASA event marking Opportunity's 10th year on Mars. "And it appeared, it just plain appeared, at that spot and we haven't driven over that spot."
A more in-depth examination of the mysterious rock revealed quite a bit more about this tasty-looking stone as well, bearing high levels of 3 elements that aren’t normally seen together, especially on a distant planet like Mars.
"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," Squyres said with excitement in last week's Jan. 16 event. "I don't know what any of this means. We're completely confused, [but] we're having a wonderful time."

Well, It looks like I'm not the only one with a giant nerd boner!