Tuesday, July 5, 2022

For the past 4 months, Perseverance has had an unexpected traveling companion

How do you choose a rock on Mars? Sometimes you don’t— it chooses you.

The Perseverance rover is not alone anymore. It has found its companion while exploring the Red planet. A pet rock has been stuck on the rover’s left front wheel.

In early February, the pet rock found its way to the rover’s front left wheel. Since then, the two have been inseparable. Also, the rock is not doing any damage to the wheel.

In four months, along with the rover, the rock has traveled more than 5.3 miles (8.5 km). The rock has periodically photobombed images taken by the rover’s front-left Hazard Avoidance Camera (Hazcam).

NASA said in a statement“Perseverance’s pet rock has seen a lot on its travels. Back on sol 341, we were still in our Crater Floor Campaign, where we examined rocks that are part of the “Máaz” formation, which we believe is made up of lava flows. If this pet rock could talk, it might tell us about the changes it’s noticed as we traveled back north through the Octavia E. Butler landing site and then west, passing the spectacular remains of the former extent of the delta, “Kodiak,” on our journey to the western Jezero delta. We’re now in the Delta Front Campaign, and we just abraded what might be our first sedimentary rock. Perseverance’s pet rock is now a long way from home.”

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