New Picture Clicked By Perseverance Rover Shows Donut-Shaped Rock On Mars

New Picture Clicked By Perseverance Rover Shows Donut-Shaped Rock On Mars

NASA's Perseverance Rover Captures Donut-Shaped Rock On Mars

Mars is full of surprises. The red planet has been revealing some of its secrets to NASA's Perseverance rover, which has been exploring the ancient Jezero Crater for signs of past life. One of the latest discoveries is a mysterious donut-shaped rock that could be a large meteorite that fell from the sky.

What is the donut-shaped rock?

The donut-shaped rock is a big, dark stone with a hole in its center. It was spotted by the rover's SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager camera on June 23, 2023, about 100 meters (328 feet) away from the rover in the delta of the Jezero Crater¹². The rock is larger than 25 centimeters (10 inches) wide, but its exact size and shape are unknown.

The origin and composition of the rock are also unclear. Some scientists think it could be a meteorite that crashed on Mars, given the planet's proximity to the asteroid belt and its ability to preserve meteorites. Others think it could be a sedimentary sandstone that was transported by ancient floods and eroded by wind over time, leaving a cavity in the middle.

Why is it important?

The donut-shaped rock is not just a curiosity. It could provide valuable clues about the history and geology of Mars. If it is a meteorite, it could tell us about the composition and diversity of asteroids in the solar system, as well as the impact history of Mars. If it is a sandstone, it could tell us about the ancient environment and climate of Mars, as well as the processes that shaped its surface.

The rock could also be a potential target for sampling by the rover. The Perseverance rover has a drill that can collect core samples of rocks and soil and store them in sealed tubes for possible return to Earth by a future mission⁵. These samples could help scientists answer fundamental questions about the origin and evolution of life on Mars and elsewhere.

What's next?

The Perseverance rover has not approached the donut-shaped rock yet, so it may not be able to examine or sample it in detail. However, it will continue to explore the Jezero Crater and its surroundings, looking for more interesting rocks and features. The rover will also use its instruments to study the chemistry, mineralogy, and geology of Mars, as well as its atmosphere and weather.

The rover will also deploy a small helicopter called Ingenuity, which will attempt to make history as the first powered flight on another planet⁵. The helicopter will test the feasibility and potential of aerial exploration on Mars, which could open up new possibilities for future missions.

The Perseverance rover is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, which aims to understand the role of water in shaping Mars, determine if life ever arose there, characterize its climate and geology, and prepare for human exploration⁵. The rover is expected to operate for at least one Martian year (about 687 Earth days), but it could last much longer and make more discoveries along the way.


(1) Donut on Mars? Rock image from Perseverance rover captures imagination.
(2) NASA's Perseverance Rover Captures Donut-Shaped Rock On Mars -
(4) Donut on Mars: NASA's Perseverance Captures a Huge Holey Rock on Red Planet.
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