Scientists analyzing images from the Mars Opportunity Rover are flummoxed after a rock mysteriously appeared in the rover’s field of vision last week.
“It was a total surprise,” NASA scientist Steve Squyres told Discovery News. “We were like ‘wait a second, that wasn’t there before, it can’t be right. Oh my god! It wasn’t there before!’ We were absolutely startled.”
Some hypothesize the rock may have landed there after being flung skyward by a meteor that landed nearby, but the leading theory blames the rover itself for overturning a nearby rock with a quick, jittery wheel maneuver.
“You think of Mars as being a very static place and I don’t think there’s a smoking hole nearby so it’s not a bit of crater ejecta, I think it’s something that we did,” Squyres said. “We flung it.”
- TIME's Top 100 Photos of 2022
- I Tested Positive for COVID-19 Right Before the Holidays. What Should I Do?
- Column: How To Create a Sense of Belonging In a Divided America
- How to Survive the Holidays if You're a Scrooge
- Life Expectancy Provides Evidence of How Far Black Americans Have Come
- The 10 Best Albums of 2022
- Iran Has a Long History of Protest and Activism
- 6 Ways to Give Better Gifts—Based on Science