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‘Jelly Donut’ Rock Mysteriously Appears in Mars Rover Photo of Same Spot Days Apart

donutmars

The Mars Opportunity Rover has found a jelly donut on Mars… man would that be an awesome headline. Unfortunately we couldn’t run that unless we were intent on click baiting you (we’re not…). What the 10-year-veteran Mars Rover did find (and photograph) is a mysterious rock that looks like — and has been nicknamed — the ‘jelly donut.’

Why mysterious? Because it seemed to appear out of nowhere in pictures of the exact same spot on the Martian ground only 12 Martian days (or Sols) apart.

The explanation as to how the rock got there is sufficiently scientifically boring. Much as we might have hoped for the discovery of careless Martian bakers, chances are the rover kicked up the rock during a short drive that happened in those intervening 12 days.

Here’s a closer crop (click on the image for full res):

donutmarsfull

Still, the powder-white rock with its dark red center — which has, by the way, officially been named Pinnacle Island (we WAY prefer Jelly Doughnut, but NASA didn’t seek our input) — has given laypeople such as ourselves a good chuckle while offering the folks at NASA “an unusual circumstance for examining the underside of a Martian rock.”

And, interestingly, the rock really has proven itself to be more than just eye candy (or, rather, eye pastry). According to APOD, it contains twice the manganese of any rock we’ve yet examined on Mars, a discovery that “doesn’t yet fit into humanity’s understanding of the Martian geologic history.”

(via APOD)


PS: Opportunity recently celebrated the completion of a full operational decade on the red planet. Check out the selfie it sent home in honor of that occasion.


 
 
  • Vlad Dusil

    I am mostly concerned whether it has a raspberry or strawberry filling. Prefer the latter.

  • Sean Walsh

    I think Dr. Manhattan preferred raspberry. I’ll get back to you.

  • Thekaph

    A guy, Rhawn Joseph, is suing the Nasa about it. Cause “they” are hiding something from us about this donuts which is, according to him, a living life who grow up from the ground.

  • Mike

    Ho-ly Jesus.
    What is THAT? WHAT the f*** is that?
    WHAT IS THIS NASA ROVER!?

  • Mike

    Doughnuts grow on Mars?! Send me over!

  • Scott Hutchison

    Looks like a beer can somebody dropped out of their 4wheeler. Just sayin’ #mightnotreallybeaphotoofmars

  • Carl Meyer

    It looks like a piece of space blanket.

  • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com/ bob cooley

    This is just an indication that they are going to find a police car on Mars very soon…

  • http://www.woodyoneal.com/ Woody ONeal

    My God, its full of jelly doughnuts.

  • Alan Dove

    And that looks like a tinfoil hat on your head.

  • Scott Hutchison

    Yes it is. I have two. One for fine dining and one for just kicking around.

  • James

    The sad part is that NASA is looking for carbon based life forms, and since it hasn’t found any (i.e. no carbon-based organics), it has safely assumed that Mars is a lifeless sterile world. Now, here’s the problem. Suppose that Mars harbors sulfur-based life forms instead? After all, this is a ‘rock’ that has sulfur as its main mineral component and no carbon. I don’t see any scuff marks, scratches or dents to indicate that this rock was displaced in any manner. Worse yet, since sulfur is a soft mineral, said rock should have shattered into many bits and pieces upon impact or at least left some debris in the form of sulfur somewhere. It would be interesting to see if this rock changes in shape/form with the passage of time (similar to how mushroom grows and decays with its life cycle), or if this rock changes its location on its own accord. Who knows. Maybe NASA will decide to squish it under the rover wheel instead, as a test for the presence of water.

  • Ken O’Neill

    “…chances are the rover kicked up the rock during a short drive…”

    …the rover crawls along, it is incapable of ‘kicking up’ a piece of paper, let alone a rock.