NASA’s Perseverance rover has a strange and unexpected travel companion

NASA’s Perseverance rover is on 1 of the most critical missions the house agency has at any time experienced on the Crimson World. Tasked with getting proof of historical daily life in a aspect of the planet considered to be an historic river delta, the rover has identified a number of intriguing things. Now, however, it also appears to be to have picked up an unanticipated touring companion. Perseverance has a pet rock.

NASA’s Perseverance rover picked up a pet rock

Perseverance pet rock
Perseverance’s pet rock is lodged in the rover’s front left wheel. Impression source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA shared the good information final week, noting that Perseverance’s pet rock has stuck with the rover for in excess of 100 sols. The area company says the rock hitched a ride in the rover’s front left wheel in early February. Because then, it has traveled about 5.3 miles with the agency’s most recent rover.

It’s a little bit of a foolish announcement. But, when you’re exploring alien planets like Mars, every minimal detail can be intriguing in its very own correct. Furthermore, Perseverance picking up an not likely traveling companion is not so unlikely. The Martian area is littered with rocks and obstructions. And in the previous, other rovers have picked up traveling companions. As these types of, it was only a subject of time for Perseverance.

The good thing is, Perseverance’s pet rock isn’t causing any hurt to the rover’s wheel. It has been together for a bumpy trip, nevertheless. The rover has steadily been generating its way up in direction of an historical river delta.

Once there, it intends to look for the delta for symptoms of historic lifestyle. Due to the fact its landing, Perseverance has explored parts of the Jezero crater. Other rovers have also found proof of the creating blocks of life on Mars.

NASA hopes that Perseverance can discover even more evidence.

Long run confusion

A photo captured by the Mars Perseverance rover. Graphic supply: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Even though the rock hitching a experience in Perseverance’s wheel is not significantly of a menace to the rover, experts say there could be long run implications.

When Perseverance picked up its pet rock, the rover was continue to checking out the floor of the Jezero crater. Now, over 100 sols later, the rover is properly on its way to the Jezero delta. Really should it drop out anytime quickly, NASA expects it to land with rocks that are produced up of really unique parts than it is.

5.3 miles does not seem that considerably, suitable? But, for a small rock, it is a entire world away from wherever it was picked up. And that’s where by these foreseeable future implications arrive into engage in.

As NASA notes in the announcement, the rock could pretty very well slide in a location it does not fit in. If that comes about, it could confuse future Mars geologists. This is why the house agency issued a relatively silly warning immediately after asserting Perseverance’s pet rock.

If you are learning Mars down the line and you are mapping out the Jezero crater, you may possibly uncover a small rock that seems perfectly out of location. Regrettably, it’s unlikely an alien place it there. As a substitute, it in all probability hitched a trip on Perseverance. If only that rock could discuss, it could convey to us so a lot about the rover’s historical expedition throughout the Crimson World.