The NASA‘s Perseverance Mars rover has discovered a mysterious hole-pierced rock on Mars, resembling a doughnut-shaped rock, which might have fallen from space. On Friday, June 23, the rover captured an image of a large stone with a big hole in the center. The enigmatic rock is surrounded by others with a similar shade, suggesting a common origin that could extend beyond the planet.

Strange rocks discovered on Mars

The doughnut-shaped rock “could be a large meteorite alongside smaller fragments”, declared representatives from the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California, on Monday, June 26. However, such a discovery is not unprecedented.

Shortly after its landing in February 2021, Perseverance had spotted a potential meteorite. Soon after, the same rover identified a rock in the shape of a pastry. Even the rover’s older cousin, Curiosity, had encountered a series of strange space rocks on Mars after landing in August 2012. One of these rocks was nicknamed “Cacao” in February of this year.

In January 2014, NASA’s Opportunity rover had found a white rock on the outside and red on the inside. The mission team members dubbed it the “jelly doughnut”. In short, the mysterious hole-pierced rock is not a unique occurrence in the exploration of Mars.

Perseverance & Ingenuity duo

Perseverance is exploring a 45-kilometer-wide Martian crater called Jezero, which once hosted a large lake and river delta billions of years ago. The car-sized rover is characterizing this ancient environment, searching for signs of life, and collecting dozens of samples for future return to Earth.

Moreover, a small helicopter named Ingenuity is assisting the rover’s work. Since being on the Martian surface, it quickly completed its five-flight demonstration mission. A clear demonstration that aerial exploration is possible on the Red Planet.

The 1.8-kilogram helicopter is now engaged in a more extensive mission, exploring promising routes and scientific targets to study for its robotic partner. As of today, Ingenuity has completed 51 flights on Mars, covering a total of 11.7 kilometers of the Martian terrain.

Stefano Gallotta
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