NASA’s Perseverance rover has spotted a strange donut-shaped rock on Mars, which is likely a meteorite that crashed onto the Red Planet.
The bizarre big, dark stone, which has a hole in its center, was found surrounded by stones of similar hue by the rover’s remote-sensing camera.
“NASA Perseverance took a picture using the SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager on 23 June 2023 of a donut-shaped rock off in the distance, which could be a large meteorite alongside smaller pieces,” the California-based SETI institute tweeted earlier in the week.
#PPOD: @NASAPersevere took a picture using the SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager on 23 June 2023 of a donut-shaped rock off in the distance, which could be a large meteorite alongside smaller pieces. Credit: @NASA @NASAJPL @Caltech @LosAlamosNatLab @CNES @IRAP_France @mars_stu pic.twitter.com/9EFTr5tlno
— The SETI Institute (@SETIInstitute) June 26, 2023
Strange rocks, even trash found on Mars
Such strange-looking rocks and formations have also been previously found on Mars by current and past rovers.
Earlier this year, astronomers discovered a strange structure on Mars resembling a bear’s face.
The rock formation consisted of two craters that appeared to make up the eyes of the ”bear,” and a V-shaped collapsed hill for its snout.
Researchers said following the finding in January that the circular fracture pattern was likely due to the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater while the bear nose-like structure is likely a volcanic or mud vent.
Then in February, NASA revealed the Curiosity rover’s finding of a strange shiny metallic rock on the Red Planet that appeared to be an iron-nickel meteorite.
Last year Perseverance spotted on Mars trash—a piece of a thermal blanket used to protect the spacecraft during its landing on the red planet.
The material the space agency used to protect the Perseverance spacecraft from extreme temperatures as it journeyed to Mars and plummeted through the Martian atmosphere was caught in a jagged rock.
NASA launches Mars simulator mission
The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover is searching for signs of ancient microbial life, which will advance NASA’s quest to explore the past habitability of Mars.
The rover has a drill to collect core samples of Martian rock and soil, then store them in sealed tubes for pickup by a future mission that would ferry them back to Earth for detailed analysis. Perseverance is also testing technologies to help pave the way for future human exploration of Mars.
There are several ways that the mission helps pave the way for future human expeditions to Mars and demonstrates technologies that may be used in those endeavors.
These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.
Earlier this week, NASA launched a groundbreaking Mars simulator mission that will span a remarkable 378 days.
This mission involves a team of four dedicated individuals who will be confined within a simulated version of the planet Mars. The simulation is taking place at the renowned Johnson Space Center, located in Houston, Texas.
Known as the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA), this extraordinary endeavor marks the first of three-year-long simulations of the Martian surface. NASA has devised this project with a specific purpose in mind: to gather valuable data that will aid in preparation for future human exploration of Mars.